To compare various graft materials in the rabbit model, including autologous cartilage, dermal tissue, fat, and AlloDerm (a cadaver-derived material).
Twenty-five New Zealand white rabbits were used. Equally sized autogenous (fat, fascia, cartilage, and dermal) grafts and AlloDerm were implanted into subcutaneous dorsal pockets on the rabbits. Animals were killed 1, 2, 3, and 4 months after surgery. The grafts were examined microscopically for thickness, resorption, fibrosis, neovascularization, inflammation, eosinophilia, and the presence of multinucleated giant cells or microcysts.
The cartilage grafts revealed excellent viability with no resorption. The fascial grafts showed negligible volume loss. The dermal grafts developed epidermoid cysts. The AlloDerm grafts demonstrated graft thickening at 1 month and total resorption at 3 and 4 months. The fat grafts demonstrated 30% to 60% partial resorption.
The major disadvantage of using an autogenous fat graft was partial resorption, whereas cyst formation was observed with dermal grafts. AlloDerm caused tissue reaction and resorption. The best graft material was cartilage, with a low absorption rate, good biocompatibility, and minimal tissue reaction or fibrosis, followed by fascia, with a minimal shrinkage capacity and tissue reaction.