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Polymeric implant materials for the reconstruction of tracheal and pharyngeal mucosal defects in head and neck surgery

Keywords: upper aerodigestive tract , multifunctional polymer implant materials , pharynx reconstruction , tracheal reconstruction , tissue engineering , gastric wall regeneration

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The existing therapeutical options for the tracheal and pharyngeal reconstruction by use of implant materials are described. Inspite of a multitude of options and the availability of very different materials none of these methods applied for tracheal reconstruction were successfully introduced into the clinical routine. Essential problems are insufficiencies of anastomoses, stenoses, lack of mucociliary clearance and vascularisation. The advances in Tissue Engineering (TE) offer new therapeutical options also in the field of the reconstructive surgery of the trachea. In pharyngeal reconstruction far reaching developments cannot be recognized at the moment which would allow to give a prognosis of their success in clinical application. A new polymeric implant material consisting of multiblock copolymers was applied in our own work which was regarded as a promising material for the reconstruction of the upper aerodigestive tract (ADT) due to its physicochemical characteristics. In order to test this material for applications in the ADT under extreme chemical, enzymatical, bacterial and mechanical conditions we applied it for the reconstruction of a complete defect of the gastric wall in an animal model. In none of the animals tested either gastrointestinal complications or negative systemic events occurred, however, there was a multilayered regeneration of the gastric wall implying a regular structured mucosa.In future the advanced stem cell technology will allow further progress in the reconstruction of different kind of tissues also in the field of head and neck surgery following the principles of Tissue Engineering.


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