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Despite numerous attempts, synthetic materials and heterologous tissues failed to replace durably the trachea. Autologous tracheal substitution (ATS) without synthetic material or immunosuppression was investigated to replace extended tracheal defect. We present our experience regards to this innovative challenge.
After a previous research study, we developed a novel reconstruction technique for extended tracheal defects on animals. Through a single stage operation, a tube from a forearm free fascio-cutaneous flap vascularized by radial vessels is re-anastomosed to cervical vessels. This flap is reinforced by rib cartilages interposed transversally in the subcutaneous tissue. It provides also a reliable ATS. Twelve patients benefits from an extended tracheal resections, 7–12 centimeter (mean 11cm) long. Indications were eight Primary tracheal Neoplasms (including 5 adenoid cystic carcinoma [ACC] and 3 squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]), three secondary tracheal neoplasms (including 1 thyroid carcinoma and 2 lymphoma) and one post-intubation tracheal destruction after long history of stenting. Daily bronchoscopy and transitory tracheotomy was associated due to absence of mucociliary clearance.
The research work leads to present the first described animal model for tracheal resection and replacement with an autologous conduit. It was constructed from costal cartilages and a pediculed cervical skin flap. From 2004 to 2012, 12 patients have had ATS with associated resections in four cases. All patients were extubated on the first postoperative days; eight patients are alive at 2 to 94 months (mean=36) postoperatively, with no respiratory distress. The two patients with ATS after resection extended to the carina died due to pulmonary infection. No airway collapse has been detectable, either by endoscopy, dynamic CT scan or spirometry. Two patients still have a tracheotomy because performed too low at the level of the proximal anastomosis. One patient with a chronic severe respiratory insufficiency required recently a distal and short stent.
ATS is actually a good, durable tracheal substitute that can resist respiratory pressure variations because of their transverse rigidity without any immunosuppression. The limits of this technique are probably, chronic respiratory insufficiency and cartilage calcifications. Research to develop a method for lining the neo-trachea with ciliated respiratory epithelium is needed.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.