Systematic review and critical appraisal of the impact of acellular dermal matrix use on the outcomes of implant-based breast reconstruction

S Potter, D Browning, Jelena Savovic, C Holcombe, J M Blazeby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

42 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Acellular dermal matrix (ADM) may improve outcomes in implant-based breast reconstruction (IBBR). The aim of this study was critically to appraise and evaluate the current evidence for ADM-assisted IBBR.

METHODS: Comprehensive electronic searches identified complete papers published in English between January 2000 and August 2013, reporting any outcome of ADM-assisted IBBR. All systematic reviews, randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and non-randomized studies (NRSs) with more than 20 ADM recipients were included. Studies were critically appraised using AMSTAR for systematic reviews, the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for RCTs and its adaptation for NRSs. Characteristics and results of identified studies were summarized.

RESULTS: A total of 69 papers (8 systematic reviews, 1 RCT, 40 comparative studies and 20 case series) were identified, all of which were considered at high risk of bias, mostly due to patient selection and selective outcome reporting. The median ADM group sample size was 51.0 (i.q.r. 33.0-127.0). Most studies were single-centre (54), and they were often single-surgeon (16). ADM was most commonly used for immediate (40) two-stage IBBR (36) using human ADM (47), with few studies evaluating ADM-assisted single-stage procedures (10). All reported clinical outcomes (for example implant loss) and more than half of the papers (33) assessed process outcomes, but few evaluated cosmesis (16) or patient-reported outcomes (10). Heterogeneity between study design and, especially, outcome measurement precluded meaningful data synthesis.

CONCLUSION: Current evidence for the value of ADMs in IBBR is limited. Use in practice should therefore be considered experimental, and evaluation within registries or well designed and conducted studies, ideally RCTs, is recommended to prevent widespread adoption of a potentially inferior intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-25
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 BJS Society Ltd Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Systematic review and critical appraisal of the impact of acellular dermal matrix use on the outcomes of implant-based breast reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this