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Doctors rebuilt a man's throat using regenerating tissue

The results are a major breakthrough in the field of regenerative tissue.

Image: Shutterstock/nimon

A PATIENT WHO had their oesophagus rebuilt using stents and skin tissue has no problems swallowing or maintaining weight after seven years.

The results, from an operation in Wisconsin in the US, are a major breakthrough in the field of regenerative tissue.

Until now, this regeneration technique has only been tested in animals. The authors of a report published in The Lancet, reporting on the outcome of the procedure, say that research including animal studies and clinical trials, are now needed to investigate whether the technique can be reproduced and used in other similar cases.

The doctors report using metal stents as a non-biological scaffold and a regenerative tissue matrix from donated human skin to rebuild a full-thickness 5cm defect in the oesophagus of a 24-year-old man. The patient was urgently admitted to hospital with a disrupted oesophagus resulting in life-threatening infection and inability to swallow following complications from an earlier car accident which had left him partially paralysed.

The oesophagus is a hollow muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach carrying food and liquids.

The patient was operated on using metal stents, with the defect then surgically covered and sprayed with a platelet-rich plasma gel produced from his own blood.

Professor Kulwinder Dua from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee says the operation is a step forward in surgery, but

This is a first in human operation and one that we undertook as a life-saving measure once we had exhausted all other options available to us and the patient. The use of this procedure in routine clinical care is still a long way off as it requires rigorous assessment.

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