Background: Many esophageal pathologies are clinically treated by resection and reconstruction of the esophagus. Surgical esophagectomy remains a morbid procedure and despite minimally invasive advances, has changed little in decades. Novel approaches to esophageal segmental resection and reconstruction are an unmet need. Methods: Circumferential thoracic esophageal transection was performed in both male and female pigs and the defects reconstructed using 5 or 10 cm polyurethane (PU) tubular grafts and stented. A subset were treated with stent only. Animals were survived to 14, 30, 60, and 399 days. Tissues were evaluated histologically, and via non-invasive serial endoscopy and contrast swallowing studies in long-term animals. Results: Luminal patency was achieved in all animals with no clinical evidence of leak. In short-term animals, there was healing noted in all cases with a variably sized region of ulceration remaining at the most central part of the repaired tube (between the proximal and distal anastomosis). In four long-term animals following stent removal, two resumed normal diet and thrived, while two animals were euthanized prior to the proposed endpoint because of stricture formation and inability to tolerate a normal diet. Re-epithelialization was observed in all groups, and more complete over time. Conclusions: The PU scaffold provides a matrix across which formation of new tissue can occur. The mechanisms through which this happens remain unclear, but likely a combination of fibrosis and tissue contraction, in conjunction with new tissue formation.
- circumferential defect
- esophageal regeneration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine