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Rohleder, Nils H.; Loeffelbein, Denys J.; Feistl, Wolfgang; Eddicks, Matthias; Wolff, Klaus-D; Gulati, Aakshay; Steinstraesser, Lars; Kesting, Marco R. (July 2013): Repair of Oronasal Fistulae by Interposition of Multilayered Amniotic Membrane Allograft. In: Plastic and reconstructive surgery, Vol. 132, No. 1: pp. 172-181




Background: Oronasal fistulas are a frequent complication after cleft palate surgery. Numerous repair methods have been described, but wound-healing problems occur often. The authors investigated, for the first time, the suitability of multilayered amniotic membrane allograft for fistula repair in a laboratory experiment (part A), a swine model (part B), and an initial patient series (part C). Methods: In part A, one-, two-, and four-layer porcine and human amniotic membranes (n = 20 each) were fixed in a digital towing device and the force needed for rupture was determined. In part B, iatrogenic oronasal fistulas in 18 piglets were repaired with amniotic membrane allograft, autofetal amniotic membrane, or small intestinal submucosa (n = 6 each). Healing was evaluated by probing and visual inflammation control (no/moderate/strong) on postoperative days 3, 7, 10, and 76. Histological analysis was performed to visualize tissue architecture. In part C, four patients (two women and two men, ages 21 to 51 years) were treated with multilayered amniotic membrane allograft. Results: In part A, forces needed for amniotic membrane rupture increased with additional layers (p < 0.001). Human amniotic membrane was stronger than porcine membrane (p < 0.001). In part B, fistula closure succeeded in all animals treated with amniotic membrane with less inflammation than in the small intestinal submucosa group. One fistula remained persistent in the small intestinal submucosa group. In part C, all fistulas healed completely without inflammation. Conclusions: Amniotic membrane is an easily available biomaterial and can be used successfully for oronasal fistula repair. The multilayer technique and protective plates should be utilized to prevent membrane ruptures.