Plastic Surgery 101

Alloderm is just one gift of many from organ donors

 

Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com

Q. I recently had a mastectomy and had a tissue expander placed in my chest so that I could have reconstructive surgery. My surgeon said that he used Alloderm when he put the tissue expander in so that it would support my skin and it would make it easier to get a better result. My question: What is Alloderm and is it safe?

Alloderm is a collagen matrix that does not have live cells. Cadaver skin is harvested and treated in such a way as to remove all live cells. This collagen matrix forms a support system in which your own cells and blood vessels fill in the area, making it stronger for reconstructive surgery.

Alloderm may also be used when a “breast bottoms out” and the surgeon needs some support in the bottom of the breast so that the implant does not come out. There are many other uses of Alloderm throughout the body; it is a safe, effective treatment.

It is interesting to note that because someone allowed their skin to be harvested, other patients benefitted from it. There are many other tissues that are used for the benefit of patients that are donated by organ donors.

Donors save people’s vision, improve the results of orthopedic and neuro-surgery and many other surgeries that help improve the quality of human life.

On a recent trip to visit my daughter, who is a surgical-trauma intensive care nurse at the University of Virginia, she made me aware of the need to become an organ donor. She often deals with patients who have essentially died but have a lot to give to other patients if they had been organ donors.

Therefore, I’m encouraging and challenging everyone who reads my column to become an organ donor. Go to www.organdonor.gov and sign up. It is very easy to become an organ donor. A body is a terrible thing to waste.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner at Miami Plastic Surgery. Email your questions to: Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

  • Plastic Surgery 101

    Plastric surgery 101: Puffy eyes can happen to younger people

    Q. I'm 25 and hate the way my eyes look! I know that I'm going to need to get my eyes done but am I too young? I have very puffy eyes in the morning and during the rest of the day they remain puffy. Is there anything I can do now or do I have to wait until I am in my 40s?

  • JOCK DOC

    Jock Doc: New advances in hip-replacement surgery can help in the long term

    Q. I have been having hip pain that has gotten worse for several years. I saw my orthopedic surgeon, who said I had bad arthritis and needed a new hip. I have been reading online about minimally invasive hip surgery, robotic hip surgery and traditional hip surgery. Do you have any advice on what I should do?

  • Fit Tip

    Fit tip: Do compression sleeves work?

    Q: I twisted my knee recently. Do compression sleeves work to help recover from an injury? 

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category