Repair of complex ovine segmental mandibulectomy utilizing customized tissue engineered bony flaps

Emma Watson, Hannah A. Pearce, Katie J. Hogan, Natasja W.M. van Dijk, Mollie M. Smoak, Sergio Barrios, Brandon T. Smith, Alexander M. Tatara, Timothy C. Woernley, Jonathan Shum, Craig B. Pearl, James C. Melville, Tang Ho, Issa A. Hanna, Nagi Demian, Jeroen J.J.P. van den Beucken, John A. Jansen, Mark E. Wong, Antonios G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Craniofacial defects require a treatment approach that provides both robust tissues to withstand the forces of mastication and high geometric fidelity that allows restoration of facial architecture. When the surrounding soft tissue is compromised either through lack of quantity (insufficient soft tissue to enclose a graft) or quality (insufficient vascularity or inducible cells), a vascularized construct is needed for reconstruction. Tissue engineering using customized 3D printed bioreactors enables the generation of mechanically robust, vascularized bony tissues of the desired geometry. While this approach has been shown to be effective when utilized for reconstruction of non-load bearing ovine angular defects and partial segmental defects, the two-stage approach to mandibular reconstruction requires testing in a large, load-bearing defect. In this study, 5 sheep underwent bioreactor implantation and the creation of a load-bearing mandibular defect. Two bioreactor geometries were tested: a larger complex bioreactor with a central groove, and a smaller rectangular bioreactor that were filled with a mix of xenograft and autograft (initial bone volume/total volume BV/TV of 31.8 ± 1.6%). At transfer, the tissues generated within large and small bioreactors were composed of a mix of lamellar and woven bone and had BV/TV of 55.3 ± 2.6% and 59.2 ± 6.3%, respectively. After transfer of the large bioreactors to the mandibular defect, the bioreactor tissues continued to remodel, reaching a final BV/TV of 64.5 ± 6.2%. Despite recalcitrant infections, viable osteoblasts were seen within the transferred tissues to the mandibular site at the end of the study, suggesting that a vascularized customized bony flap is a potentially effective reconstructive strategy when combined with an optimal stabilization strategy and local antibiotic delivery prior to development of a deep-seated infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0280481
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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