Facial plast Surg 2010; 26(5): 396-404
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1265019
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Septal Cartilage Tissue Engineering: New Horizons

Jacqueline J. Greene1 , 2 , Deborah Watson1 , 2 , 3
  • 1School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • 2Cartilage Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • 3Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 September 2010 (online)


Cartilage tissue engineering is a dynamically changing field that has the potential to address some of the tissue repair challenges seen in nasal and craniofacial reconstructive surgeries. The scope of the problem includes limited autologous tissue availability, donor site morbidity associated with the harvesting of these tissue grafts, and the risk of an immune reaction to allogenic or synthetic implants that might be used as alternatives. Current tissue engineering strategies involve harvesting a small biopsy specimen from a patient and then isolating chondrocytes through enzymatic digestion of the extracellular matrix. These isolated chondrocytes can be expanded in monolayer and reseeded into a three-dimensional scaffold that could potentially be used as autologous surgical grafts. Using cell-expansion techniques, it would be feasible to generate abundant amounts of cartilage in defined shapes and sizes. The ideal tissue-engineered cartilage would resemble native tissue in terms of its biochemical, structural, and metabolic properties so that it could restore stability, function, and contour to the damaged or defective facial region. In this article, emerging technology and major challenges are described to highlight recent advances and overall trends within septal cartilage tissue engineering.