Biologic matrices offer a new approach to the management of abdominal wall defects when the use of other foreign material is not ideal. A member of our team (GEA) developed a biological decellularized matrix generated from harvested blood vessels of swine blood vessel matrix (BVMx). The aim of our study was to investigate whether this novel collagen-based biological matrix is safe and effective for the repair of abdominal wall hernia defects in a rat model.
Full thickness abdominal wall defects were created in rats and repaired with our BVMx. After implantation as an underlay for 30 and 90 days, animals were sacrificed and the implanted material evaluated for herniation, adhesions, breaking strength, inflammation, and revascularization.
No evidence of herniation was noted at 30 (n = 7) or 90 (n = 7) days after repair. Adhesions, if present, were filmy and easily separated. The mean area of visceral adhesions to the BVMx was 18.9 +/- 11.0% at 30 days and 7.1 +/- 3.1% at 90 days post implantation (P = 0.33). The breaking strength of the BVMx-fascial interface was 4.5 +/- 0.8 N at 30 days and 4.5 +/- 2.4 N at 90 days post implantation (P = 0.98). Histologic analysis demonstrated that the BVMx elicited a mild transient inflammatory response and supported fibroblast migration, deposition of newly formed collagen, and neovascularization.
These data confirm that this BVMx supports vascular ingrowth and provides adequate strength for the repair of abdominal wall defects. Future studies in a large animal model are required to assess its validity for human application.