OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether porous titanium can provide a better support for revascularization of a mucosal graft ideal for tracheal reconstruction. In patients with laryngotracheal stenosis or tumor, the mucosa with supporting structures can be damaged, resulting in a defect that has to be reconstructed. Autologous tissues like cartilage and mucosa have been used for reconstruction. The main problem has been incomplete mucosal reepithelialization. DESIGN: In the first experiment, porous titanium or ear cartilage was combined with mucosa and implanted subcutaneously in athymic mice for different periods of time. In the second experiment, using rabbits, surgically created defects were reconstructed with porous titanium and mucosa on a pedicled fascia flap using a 2-stage procedure. The implants were analyzed with emphasis on angiogenesis and mucosal survival. SUBJECTS: Male New Zealand white rabbits and nude athymic mice (BALB-c nu/nu). RESULTS: Normal mucosa having a submucosal layer with vital cells was noted on top of the titanium. Multiple blood vessels were observed extending from the muscle layer through the titanium. Cytokeratin expression was detected in the suprabasal and basal layers of the mucosal epithelium. In contrast, the mucosa on cartilage showed no vital cells and no cytokeratin expression. In the rabbit experiment, all animals survived the reconstruction. The titanium was well integrated to the adjacent tracheal cartilage and surrounding tissues, supporting a fully vital mucosa. CONCLUSIONS: Porous titanium is an inert biomaterial that provides support and allows easy revascularization of a mucosal graft. Titanium, in combination with viable autologous tissues, is a good alternative for tracheal reconstruction.

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doi.org/10.1001/archoto.2009.29, hdl.handle.net/1765/17612
Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Janssen, L., van Osch, G., Li, J., Kops, N., de Groot, K., von den Hoff, J., … Hardillo, J. (2009). Tracheal Reconstruction. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 135(5), 472–478. doi:10.1001/archoto.2009.29