The reconstruction of large craniofacial defects remains a significant clinical challenge. The complex geometry of facial bone and the lack of suitable donor tissue often hinders successful repair. One strategy to address both of these difficulties is the development of an in vivo bioreactor, where a tissue flap of suitable geometry can be orthotopically grown within the same patient requiring reconstruction. Our group has previously designed such an approach using tissue chambers filled with morcellized bone autograft as a scaffold to autologously generate tissue with a predefined geometry. However, this approach still required donor tissue for filling the tissue chamber. With the recent advances in biodegradable synthetic bone graft materials, it may be possible to minimize this donor tissue by replacing it with synthetic ceramic particles. In addition, these flaps have not previously been transferred to a mandibular defect. In this study, we demonstrate the feasibility of transferring an autologously generated tissue-engineered vascularized bone flap to a mandibular defect in an ovine model, using either morcellized autograft or synthetic bone graft as scaffold material.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering