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Alloderm is derived from tissue of postmortem human cadaver donors that have been donated to the US tissue banks.  Alloderm is FDA approved since 1992 and is available for use in the United States.  A thin layer of dermis tissue is taken from a human cadaver and medically manipulated into a protein only framework, or collagen graft.  Any cells that might cause some sort of rejection are removed during this process.  

Basically Alloderm forms a scaffold onto which your body’s own collagen can grow, and then eventually the product is completely replaced with your own tissue.  Alloderm acts as a stimulus for collagen to grow in the area that is treated.  There is no risk or rejection or contracting a disease with the Alloderm graft, as the tissue is put through a process of make it safer, while retaining all the components your body needs to make it your own tissue. 


                                            Allograft Tissue

                                              Image courtesy of AlloDerm®  - Life-Cell


Alloderm grafts have a long safety record which is made by Life-Cell – and the same company also makes a powder form called Cymetra that can be reconstituted and injected.  Before any processing of the skin that takes place with the tissue donors, they have to undergo meticulous screening by the Tissue Bank. The donor’s medical, social history and the cause of death are carefully reviewed and documented. The Tissue Banks or a certified laboratory using FDA license extensively test the blood samples. The donor must be found negative for Hepatitis B and C, HIV types 1 and 2 antibodies (screening for AIDS) and syphilis. 



                                                    Allodern sheet Prior to Implantation

                                        Allerderm Sheet



It is important to understand that human pathogenic viruses, including HIV, require certain type of human cells to be present and alive in order for the viruses to live and grow themselves.  These viruses essentially are “parasites” of cells and cannot reproduce without them. 

The Alloderm process removes all cells by removing the components necessary for the survival and spread of these viruses.  After the cell removal the Alloderm grafts are freeze-dried.  As a safeguard, Alloderm grafts undergo microscopic and other diagnostic testing, both before and after processing, to rule out pathogenic contamination and promote consistent quality. The tissue essentially becomes your own so the look and feel is soft, natural and subtle.



                    Alloderm versus Normal Dermis

                                                Image courtesy of Life-Cell - Permission to use





Alloderm is commonly used in the following: 


In breast reconstruction the Alloderm is placed between the pectoralis muscle and the inframammary crease to essentially lengthen the muscle to cover the implant.

Alloderm can also be used successfully with patients who might have ripples from their implants from breast augmentation.  It adds a layer of tissue where the tissue is too thin.

Alloderm has been used for years in the area of lip augmentation with providing a long lasting implant to help with enhancement and also deep wrinkle treatment.



                                                              Alloderm Lip Enhancement

                                    Alloderm before and after photo
                                                             Before                             After



Composition:  Alloderm implant is made from human cadaver tissue that has been donated to US tissue banks.

Formulations:  Only one formulation of Alloderm is available - however; Cymetra is the powder form of Alloderm, which can be reconstituted and injected by syringe.

Longevity:  Lasts from 8 months to 2 years.

Allergy Test:  Not Required

Cost of Alloderm:  Lip Augmentation with Alloderm runs anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000



Because implanting Alloderm requires a surgical procedure, incisions are made in the corners of the mouth.  This procedure is performed under local anesthesia with or without light sedation or on an out patient basis. The anesthesia that is required for this procedure is both nerve blocks and local injections. The length of the procedure is approximately 35 to 45 minutes. 

The Alloderm graft, which comes freeze-dried, is re-hydrated in a sterile solution.  The graft is rolled into a tube to a thickness depending on how much fuller the patient wants the lips to be.  Tiny incisions are made inside each corner of the mouth, and a tunnel is created under the skin of the lips and the Alloderm is then threaded through.  A single suture is then used to close the incisions and an antibiotic ointment is applied over these for the next few days until the incision is healed.  Oral antibiotics will also be prescribed to minimize infection risk.




     Pros of Alloderm:

  •  It is the only graft/implant capable of regenerating normal tissue 

  • Since it is human tissue, it cannot provoke any inflammatory response or allergic reaction

  • It is a soft, pliable implant with a natural feel

  • There is no need to harvest tissue from another site on your body

  • It requires a very thin layer when used as a surface graft

  • Tends to resist infection

  • Resistant to adhesion formation


Cons of Alloderm:

  • It is not permanent

  • Longer recovery anywhere from 7 to 14 days

  • Higher costs compared to other injectable fillers

  • Shrinkage within the first 6 months following surgery

  • Surgical implantation is required

  • Swelling, redness and discomfort following surgery

  • Slight asymmetries of the lips might occur

  • Scarring

  • Firmness of the graft

  • Changes in sensation (temporary)





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