Evaluation of porcine dermal collagen (Permacol) used in abdominal wall reconstruction

Patrick W. Hsu, Christopher J. Salgado, Kathryn Kent, Matthew Finnegan, Mark Pello, Robert Simons, Umur Atabek, Brian Kann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Various methods have been employed to reconstruct complex abdominal wall defects. Structural prosthetic materials such as polypropylene mesh and ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) have been widely used to close these large fascial defects, however, complications with infection and adhesions have led to the recent use of more biocompatible implants. Permacol (acellular porcine dermis) is used as a dermal scaffold, which eventually becomes vascularised and remodelled to reconstruct the abdominal wall in these complex patients. A retrospective review was performed of all patients who underwent consecutive abdominal wall reconstruction with Permacol at our institution in the year 2006. Twenty-eight patients were identified and included in our study. Factors evaluated were: body mass index, relevant co-morbidities, aetiology of hernia, hernia defect size based on CT scan and intraoperative measurement, size of Permacol implant, length of hospital stay, and postoperative complications. Surgical technique was standardised among six surgeons and involved a single layer of acellular porcine dermis as a subfascial 'underlay' graft under moderate tension upon maximal hernia reduction. Tissue expanders were not required for skin closure. Out of 28 patients, 12 were male and 16 were female. Mean intraoperative hernia size was 150 cm2 (range of 10 cm2 to 600 cm2). Mean age was 55 years with an average body mass index (BMI) of 34 (largest BMI of 61.4). Defects were attributed to either a previous laparotomy incision or open abdomen. Mean hospital stay was 9.67 days. At a mean follow-up of sixteen months, there were three recurrent hernias (10.7%) based on physical examination and postoperative CT scan evaluation. One patient developed a superficial wound dehiscence which was successfully treated with local wound care and one patient developed a cellulitis which was successfully treated with antibiotic therapy. Four patients (14.3%) developed a chronic, non-infected fluid collection lasting > one month all of which resolved. No patient required removal of the implant due to infection. Permacol can be successfully used in the reconstruction of both small and large ventral hernias. This biodegradable matrix serves as a safe and useful alternative to both synthetic mesh and AlloDerm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1484-1489
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdomen
  • Abdominal wall reconstruction
  • Biomaterials
  • Hernia
  • Implant
  • Porcine dermis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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