Growing cartilage is typically used for
reconstructing damaged or deformed noses and ears.
There are a couple of ways that this can be
done. Chondrocytes (cartilage producing cells) can
be grown in culture on biodegradable porous
scaffolds. Once the cartilaginous matrix has been
formed, the scaffold slowly degrades, leaving a
mass of cartilaginous tissue with a similar
morphology to that of the scaffold on which it was
grown. One interesting twist on this method, is
that after initial chondrocyte seeding, the
scaffold can be implanted in either the person at
an alternative place to that which the implant
will be eventually inserted or beneath the skin of
a donor species, frequently a naked mouse.
This implantation method results in the
vascularization of this material and depending on
the circumstances involved, can increase the rate
of surgical success. Ears and noses can be grown
in this manner and although these techniques are
not that widespread, they are becoming more
common. In a second method, small strips of
cartilage from another region of the body are
removed and shaped into the desired form, these
can then be transplanted into the specific region
of interest. In these cases, rib cartilage is
frequently used to construct new ears.
Cartilage is a matrix of fibers of a protein
called collagen filled up with a gelatinous
substance called chondroitin sulfate. When the
gelatinous substance is removed, it naturally
becomes filled in the body by the mineral
hydroxy-apatite (calcium phosphate).
don't know what the procedure is for manufacturing
cartilage in the laboratory,
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