Reconstruction of tracheal defects may be necessary following trauma or oncologic surgery. Defects up to 8 cm can often be repaired using end-to-end anastomosis. Use of a tracheal prosthesis for larger defects has been complicated by recurrent stenosis and infection. Recent animal studies, utilizing a Dacron® polyurethane prosthesis suggest that problems with anastomotic stenosis and infection can be controlled. Problems with a central stenosis within the prosthesis persist when used for defects greater than 6 cm. Establishment of a confluent lining of respiratory epithelium is believed to be necessary for successful prosthetic tracheal reconstruction. Using cell culture techniques, we report the first successful seeding and growth of human respiratory epithelium onto a Dacron polyurethane tracheal prosthesis.
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