Objectives: The objective of the present study was to demonstrate regenerative medicine of the tracheal tissue by using an in situ tissue engineering technique for airway reconstruction.
Methods: Based on the previous successful experimental animal studies, the current regenerative technique was applied to repair of the trachea of a 78-year-old woman with thyroid cancer. A Marlex mesh tube covered by collagen sponge was used as a tissue scaffold. The operative intervention included right hemithyroidectomy, resection of the trachea, and tracheoplasty using the scaffold. The right half of three rings of the trachea was resected, and the scaffold material was sutured to the defect of the trachea.
Results: After 2 weeks, the mesh collagen structure of the artificial material could be seen with endoscopy in most of the implanted area. The artificial material was covered with epithelial growth after 2 months. Epithelialization continued to cover the artificial material completely for 2 years without any complications.
Conclusions: The current regenerative technique avoided tracheotomy, a second operation, and deformity. Good epithelialization has been observed on the tracheal luminal surface without any complications for 2 years. Although long-term observation is required, regenerative medicine of the tracheal tissue appears feasible for airway reconstruction.