On the Use of Unsealed Polypropylene Mesh as Tracheal Replacement

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The necessity of a cervical tracheal replacement arises with thyroid carcinoma, which occasionally infiltrates the trachea extensively, the rare primary tracheal tumors and, sporadically, benign stenoses. In the present study, we used an uncoated porous polypropylene prosthesis as cervical tracheal replacement in sheep. Specifically, we implanted a tracheal prosthesis of polypropylene mesh as a cervical tracheal replacement in five sheep, protecting the airways with self-expanding stents. Healing-in of the prostheses was checked bronchoscopically. The animals were killed after increasing survival times (7, 28, 64, 68, and >90 days), and incorporation of the prosthesis was examined macroscopically, microangiographically and histologically. Although medium-term survival was possible with a sufficiently wide airway, all animals were ultimately euthanized because of complications (airway stenosis, prolapse of prosthesis). Nevertheless, the results show that replacement of the cervical trachea with a polypropylene mesh can be successful under different experimental conditions.

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