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imageBackgroundAcellular dermal matrix (ADM) has become a valuable tool in reconstructive breast surgery, in part because it has been considered to be a non-reactive and non-immunogenic entity. However, some patients who undergo breast reconstruction with ADMs develop postoperative erythema overlying their ADM grafts. The etiology of this phenomenon is poorly understood.
MethodsIn this article, we summarize clinical cases in which patients developed localized breast erythema following reconstruction with ADMs. We review what is known about postoperative breast erythema after ADM-based breast reconstructions and the possible antigenicity of biologic mesh implants.
ResultsWe report 4 implant-based breast reconstruction patients who developed erythematous reactions overlying the region where ADM was placed: one demonstrated a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction on punch biopsy of the affected skin, leading to removal of the biologic product; 2 others had a similar clinical presentation that responded to corticosteroids without removal of the biologic material, with 1 patient experiencing recrudescence of erythema that responded fully to a second course of corticosteroids; and a fourth showed erythema that was only moderately responsive to antibiotic therapy but which improved consistently after the patient initiated chemotherapy.
ConclusionWe propose that the etiology of erythema overlying ADM grafts, and the so-called red breast syndrome, may in some patients be a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction to the ADM product. Affected patients may benefit from treatment with corticosteroids or similar medications, and that such treatment may, in some cases, enable patients to retain the ADM grafts and enable salvage of the reconstructed breast.

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