PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the histologic remodeling profile and biomechanical properties of the porcine abdominal wall after repair with HDMI-crosslinked (Permacol(®)) or non-crosslinked (Strattice(®)) porcine dermis in a porcine model of ventral hernia repair. METHODS: Bilateral incisional hernias were created in Yucatan minipigs and repaired after 21 days. The repair site, including mesh and abdominal wall, was harvested after 1, 6, and 12 months and subjected to histologic analysis and uniaxial testing. Native abdominal wall without mesh was also subjected to uniaxial tensile testing. RESULTS: Permacol(®) demonstrated significant improvement over time in every remodeling category except scaffold degradation, while remodeling characteristics of Strattice(®) remained relatively unchanged over time for every category except fibrous encapsulation and neovascularization. However, remodeling scores for Strattice(®) were already significantly higher after just 1 month compared to Permacol(®) in the categories of cellular infiltration, ECM deposition, and neovascularization, providing evidence of earlier remodeling of the non-crosslinked grafts compared to the crosslinked grafts. The tensile strength and stiffness of both crosslinked and non-crosslinked graft-tissue composites were greater than the tensile strength and stiffness of the native porcine abdominal wall in the very early post-operative period (1 month), but there was no difference in tensile strength or stiffness by the end of the study period (12 months). CONCLUSIONS: HDMI collagen crosslinking of porcine dermis scaffolds reduces the early histologic remodeling profile but does not significantly impact the tensile strength or stiffness of the graft-tissue composites in a porcine model of ventral hernia repair.
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