Synthetic, biological and composite scaffolds for abdominal wall reconstruction

Jennifer Meintjes, Sheng Yan, Lin Zhou, Shusen Zheng, Minghao Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The reconstruction of abdominal wall defects remains a huge surgical challenge. Tension-free repair is proven to be superior to suture repair in abdominal wall reconstruction. Scaffolds are essential for tension-free repair. They are used to bridge a defect or reinforce the abdominal wall. A huge variety of scaffolds are now commercially available. Most of the synthetic scaffolds are composed of polypropylene. They provide strong tissue reinforcement, but cause a foreign body reaction, which can result in serious complications. Absorbable synthetic scaffolds, such as Dexon™ (polyglycolic acid) and Vicryl™ (polyglactin 910), are not suitable for abdominal wall reconstruction as they usually require subsequent surgeries to repair recurrent hernias. Composite scaffolds combine the strength of nonabsorbable synthetic scaffolds with the antiadhesive properties of the absorbable scaffold, but require long-term follow-up. Biological scaffolds, such as Permacol™, Surgisis® and Alloderm®, are derived from acellular mammalian tissues. Non-cross-linked biological scaffolds show excellent biocompatibility and degrade slowly over time. However, remnant DNA has been found in several products and the degradation leads to recurrence. Randomized controlled trials with long-term follow-up studies are lacking for all of the available scaffolds, particularly those derived from animal tissue. This article provides an overview of the different types of scaffolds available, and presents the key clinical studies of the commercially available synthetic, composite and biological scaffolds for abdominal wall reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-288
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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