Nose Reconstruction With Tissue Engineered Cartilage
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Cartilage is a surprisingly complex tissue. While researchers are making progress in growing cartilage from a patient's own cells, they have yet to reliably and fully reproduce all of the mechanical properties of the real thing. Fortunately this is less of an issue in the nose than, say, in the knee, as you aren't resting the weight of your body on your nose:

A research team [has] reported that nasal reconstruction using engineered cartilage is possible. They used a method called tissue engineering where cartilage is grown from patients' own cells. This new technique was applied on five patients, aged 76 to 88 years, with severe defects on their nose after skin cancer surgery. One year after the reconstruction, all five patients were satisfied with their ability to breathe as well as with the cosmetic appearance of their nose. None of them reported any side effects.

The type of non-melanoma skin cancer investigated in this study is most common on the nose [because] of its cumulative exposure to sunlight. To remove the tumor completely, surgeons often have to cut away parts of cartilage as well. Usually, grafts for reconstruction are taken from the nasal septum, the ear or the ribs and used to functionally reconstruct the nose. However, this procedure is very invasive, painful and can, due to the additional surgery, lead to complications at the site of the excision.

[Researchers have] now developed an alternative approach using engineered cartilage tissue grown from cells of the patients' nasal septum. They extracted a small biopsy, isolated the cartilage cells (chondrocytes) and multiplied them. The expanded cells were seeded onto a collagen membrane and cultured for two additional weeks, generating cartilage 40 times the size of the original biopsy. The engineered grafts were then shaped according to the defect on the nostril and implanted.


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