It’s no secret that nasal reconstructive procedures can be invasive and painful for patients when it’s necessary to harvest cartilage from the ribs or ear. However, a Swiss research team has shown that engineered cartilage may be a future treatment possibility. That’s according to a recent study published in The Lancet that reports the successful growth and grafting of engineered cartilage in five rhinoplasty patients.
In the study, “Engineered autologous cartilage tissue for nasal reconstruction after tumour resection: an observational first-in-human trial,” the University of Basel research team, Ilario Fulco et al., used a tissue engineering method with the patients’ own cells to grow cartilage in the lab. Patients were 76 to 88 years of age, with reconstruction required after skin cancer surgery that left significant nasal defects. To create the grafts, study researchers performed a biopsy of cells from each patient’s nasal septum. After isolating chondrocytes (cartilage cells), cells were multiplied and cultured onto a collagen membrane. Within two weeks, the study authors report generating 40 times the amount of the original biopsy. These grafts were then molded according to the reconstructive need of each patient and implanted.
At the 12-month post-treatment assessment, study authors report that the reconstructed area was “clinically satisfactory, with adequate respiratory function.” There were no adverse events and all patients were satisfied.
Importantly, looking forward, Fulco et al. recommend assessing engineered cartilage for other facial reconstruction procedures, such as the complete nose, eyelid or ear.
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