Reconstruction of mandibular defect by tissue engineering



Currently, vascularized autologous bone transplantation is considered the gold standard for large mandibular continuity defect reconstruction. Donor site morbidity is a major concern. Therefore, bone tissue engineering (BTE) seems to be the ideal solution. Fresh-frozen bone allograft is the closest material to autologous bone. The purpose of this clinical report is to show a new technique of large mandibular continuity defect reconstruction using a fresh-frozen humeral allograft seeded with autologous iliac bone marrow aspirate and vascularized with a radial forearm flap.


A 33-year-old man presented with severe cranio-facial trauma resulting in several fractures of the facial skeleton including a comminuted mandibular fracture from left parasymphysis to left angle, which caused a large continuity defect.


Result at 6 months was aesthetically and functionally satisfactory with osseointegration of the bone graft.


The authors chose to use iliac bone marrow aspirate to seed the allograft scaffold since hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cell are able to differentiate into osteoblasts, ease of harvest of the iliac crest and its low rate of morbidity. Contemporary biomaterials used for BTE are bioceramic but bone is still the better scaffold to engineer bone and only allografting avoids donor site morbidity. Vascularization is one of the main challenges of BTE; insertion of autologous vascular bundles from pedicle or free flaps is 1 solution. The authors chose the radial forearm flap since the pedicle is long and the authors did not need a great amount of soft tissue.

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