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Recipient stories

Joann's story

Joann Gilreath* was 47 when she experienced a painful infection after colorectal surgery. After one week in the Intensive Care Unit, two weeks in rehab and a course of intravenous antibiotics, she was finally discharged home. However, after leaving the hospital, Joann's problems grew worse. She experienced back pain, severe bloating after meals, frequent indigestion and chronic abdominal pain. Worst of all, this formerly energetic woman could no longer take part in activities with her family without suffering extreme discomfort.

Dr. Navin Singh of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, diagnosed a post-surgical abdominal hernia as the cause of her symptoms. After evaluating Joann’s nutritional status and suggesting some dietary changes, Dr. Singh recommended surgery. Using an AlloDerm® graft, Dr. Singh was able to surgically repair the hernia and relieve Joann’s symptoms. AlloDerm®'s unique matrix structure allowed Joann's own skin to grow into the graft without rejection or infection issues. And because AlloDerm® eliminated the need to take donor skin from another part of her body, she was able to avoid the scarring and infection risk of additional incisions.

Six months after surgery, Joann is once again enjoying her usual active lifestyle—free of pain and back to full mobility.

Yolanda's story

Yolanda Calton* was only 37 when a hysterectomy left her with a difficult post-surgical abdominal hernia. Surgery to repair her abdominal wall using polypropylene mesh was unsuccessful, necessitating four months of weekly hospital visits for wound management. Due to several complications that left her in almost constant pain, Yolanda then endured a series of emergency room visits and additional surgeries. Her ordeal finally ended when she was introduced to University of Southern California surgeon Dr. Shirin Towfigh in 2003. Dr. Towfigh diagnosed a previously overlooked infection caused by the mesh and recommended using AlloDerm® to replace it. The implantation surgery was a success, and for the first time in seven years, Yolanda was able to start getting around without the aid of a walker.

Today, Yolanda continues to recover from the effects of her abdominal infection, but her hernia is completely healed. She looks forward to continuing her education and returning to work as a counselor to the disabled and elderly. "I thank Dr. Towfigh every day for giving me my life back," Yolanda said.

*Patients' names have been changed to ensure confidentiality. Results described herein are specific to these individual patients. Actual results may vary.