Assessment of Human Acellular Dermis Graft in Porcine Models for Ventral Hernia Repair

Sambit Sahoo, Andrew R. Baker, Ivy N. Haskins, David M. Krpata, Michael J. Rosen, Kathleen A. Derwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Preclinical evaluation of hernia meshes is commonly performed in porcine models. We recently developed two surgically induced porcine hernia models - an incisional and an excisional model - that formed persistent hernias in the absence of graft repair. Herein, we investigate if these models will continue to form a hernia after graft repair. Materials and Methods: Ten pigs were used to create two hernia models - a 10-cm partial-thickness incisional defect (n = 5) and an 8 × 8-cm full-thickness excisional defect (n = 5). The defects were repaired using a 12 × 12-cm human acellular dermis graft placed in a preperitoneal/retrorectus sublay position and fixed using transfascial sutures. Postoperative management included the use of suction drainage for 1 week and an abdominal binder for 4 weeks in the more severe excisional model. Hernia development was assessed clinically, and hernia defect size and volume were measured using postoperative computed tomography (CT) imaging over 12 weeks. Radiographic inflation testing (2 L inflation), biaxial mechanical testing, and histological evaluation were also performed at 12 weeks. Results: All pigs with the excisional model, but none with the incisional model, developed a clinically relevant hernia. At the end of 12 weeks, the excisional model had a significantly greater hernia defect size (259 ± 51 cm2 vs. 47 ± 16 cm2) and repair volume (865 ± 414 cm3 vs. 85 ± 52 cm3) compared with the incisional model. The excisional model also showed an order of magnitude greater increase in repair volume (280 cm3 vs. 47 cm3) compared with the incisional model upon 2 L inflation. Furthermore, the excisional model showed a trend of having higher dilatational strain at average biaxial load of 250 N and lower stiffness compared with the incisional model. The excisional model had a thin, hypercellular hernia sac spanning the defect, whereas the incisional model had a thick densely fibrotic scar bridging the defect. Conclusion: The 8 × 8-cm excisional defect model, together with appropriate postoperative wound management, in the pig model is recommended for preclinical investigation of different grafts for hernia repair. Novel CT imaging and biomechanical testing methods are recommended to measure functional outcomes of hernia repair in preclinical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-727
Number of pages10
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • abdominal wall
  • animal model
  • biaxial testing
  • incisional hernia
  • preclinical model
  • recurrent hernia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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