The most common congenital abnormalities involve the genitourinary system. These include hypospadias, in which the urethral opening develops in an improper position, and bladder exstrophy, in which the bladder develops on the outer surface of the abdomen. Children with these conditions will require immediate and multiple reconstructive surgeries. Currently, reconstruction may be performed with native nonurologic tissues (skin, gastrointestinal segments, or mucosa), homologous tissues from a donor (cadaver or living donor kidney), heterologous tissues or substances (bovine collagen), or artificial materials (silicone, polyurethane, teflon). However, these materials often lead to complications after reconstruction, either because the implanted tissue is rejected, or because inherently different functional parameters cause a mismatch in the system. For example, replacement of bladder tissue with gastrointestinal segments can be problematic due to the opposite ways in which these two tissues handle solutes-urologic tissue normally excretes material, and gastrointestinal tissue generally absorbs the same materials. This mismatched state can lead to metabolic complications as well as infection and other issues. The replacement of lost or deficient urologic tissues with functionally equivalent ones would improve the outcome of reconstructive surgery in the genitourinary system. This goal may soon be attainable with the use of tissue engineering techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health