Novel composite trachea grafts using 3-dimensional printing

Joanna F. Weber, Sadiq S. Rehmani, Mirza Zain Baig, Robert Lebovics, Wissam Raad, Cliff Connery, Faiz Y. Bhora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Porcine-derived small intestine submucosa (SIS) extracellular matrix (ECM) surgical patches claim to have greater regenerative properties compared with dermal extracellular matrices. We hypothesized that using SIS-ECM in a bioengineered composite tracheal graft would allow better incorporation into the native tissue. Methods: Two types of size-matched polycaprolactone support scaffolds were designed: rigid and flexible. The SIS-ECM was wrapped around the polycaprolactone supports lining the inside and outside of the graft. The grafts were implanted in 4 Yorkshire pigs, replacing an ∼2 cm segment of native trachea. Airway patency was evaluated with computed tomography scans and explanted grafts were examined grossly and histologically. Results: All animals survived through the immediate postoperative period. Generally, extraluminal examination showed a smooth transition between native and graft without significant volumetric loss. Animals that received the flexible design survived ∼10 days longer than those that received the rigid design; however, severe perianastomotic intraluminal granulation tissue was observed. The rigid design had less significant intraluminal granulation tissue development at the distal anastomosis, but partial dehiscence had occurred at the proximal anastomosis interrupting graft incorporation. Conclusions: The generally good extraluminal graft incorporation in our composite tracheal graft highlights some increased regenerative capabilities of SIS-ECM. However, the presence of intraluminal granulation tissue indicates that its use as an off-the-shelf, unaltered substrate in an airway graft is still not ideal. Further research must be conducted to determine whether a modification of the substrate is possible to enhance luminal airway incorporation and to exert control over the mechanisms responsible for granulation tissue development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-160
Number of pages9
JournalJTCVS Open
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • 3D-printing
  • extracellular matrix
  • large animal model
  • polycaprolactone
  • small intestine submucosa
  • tissue engineering
  • trachea
  • trachea graft
  • trachea reconstruction


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel composite trachea grafts using 3-dimensional printing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this