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Tissue engineered prefabricated vascularized flaps

John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Publication Date
  • 069900 Other Biological Sciences
  • 090300 Biomedical Engineering
  • 110300 Clinical Sciences
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Prefabricated
  • Vascularized
  • Polylactic-Co-Glycolic Acid (Plga)
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Medicine


BACKGROUND.: Microvascular free tissue transfer has become increasingly popular in the reconstruction of head and neck defects, but it also has its disadvantages. Tissue engineering allows the generation of neo-tissue for implantation, but these tissues are often avascular. We propose to combine tissue-engineering techniques together with flap prefabrication techniques to generate a prefabricated vascularized soft tissue flap. METHODS: Human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) labeled with fluorescein diacetate were static seeded onto polylactic-co-glycolic acid-collagen (PLGA-c) mesh. Controls were plain PLGA-c mesh. The femoral artery and vein of the nude rat was ligated and used as a vascular carrier for the constructs. After 4 weeks of implantation, the constructs were assessed by gross morphology, routine histology, Masson trichrome, and cell viability determined by green fluorescence. RESULTS: All the constructs maintained their initial shape and dimensions. Angiogenesis was evident in all the constructs with neo-capillary formation within the PLGA-c mesh seen. HDFs proliferated and filled the interyarn spaces of the PLGA-c mesh, while unseeded PLGA-c mesh remained relatively acellular. Cell tracer study indicated that the seeded HDFs remained viable and closely associated to remaining PLGA-c fibers. Collagen formation was more abundant in the constructs seeded with HDFs. CONCLUSIONS: PLGA-c, enveloped by a cell sheet composed of fibroblasts, can serve as a suitable scaffold for generation of a soft tissue flap. A ligated arteriovenous pedicle can serve as a vascular carrier for the generation of a tissue engineered vascularized flap.

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