Human tissues such as those found in the ear, nose, eyelid, lip, and larynx have complicated and delicate three-dimensional structures, which are difficult to reconstruct and restore to normal function following damage by tumor, congenital disease, or trauma. We devised a new reconstructive technique for the lost tissues by using cartilage regenerated from the perichondrium.
In 12 ears of 12 rabbits, the layer between the perichondrium and the cartilage was stripped off. The exposed cartilage was punched out in large amounts to resemble a flexible, honeycomb-like structure. Then, we sandwiched the rabbit ears with two thermoplastic plates, which maintained a structure of the anterior surface of the human ear for 8 weeks. Structural change was studied in all cases, and some parts of the remodeled tissue were studied pathologically.
Out of 12 ears, 8 had a rigid structure with a shape like a human ear using regenerated cartilage from the perichondrium of rabbits, 2 were infected, and 2 had a decubitus ulcer on the conchal surface as a result of compression from the plate.
This study suggests that the use of the cartilage regenerated from the perichondrium may lead to a successful treatment also in humans for a variety of three-dimensional structures that have been damaged. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 103: 1120, 1999.)