Tissue engineering is a promising field of research that has the potential to revolutionize urinary bladder reconstruction. Currently, two techniques for the induction of bladder regeneration are being researched. The first, the in vivo technique, involves the use of a biodegradable scaffold that the host bladder can use to remodel and regenerate. This technique takes advantage of the cell's natural ability to heal or regenerate itself back to a normal state. The second technology, the in vitro technique, involves establishment of primary cell cultures from the host's native bladder. These cells are seeded on a biodegradable scaffold to create a composite graft that is then transplanted back into the host for continuation of the regeneration process. Clearly, both techniques have advantages and disadvantages, and both will have some role in future urinary reconstruction. To date, the most successful results utilizing in vivo techniques have been with small intestinal submucosa (SIS). In this article, we discuss in vivo tissue engineering technology and the preclinical studies that have been performed utilizing SIS for urinary tract regeneration.
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