Arch Plast Surg.  2020 Sep;47(5):392-403. 10.5999/aps.2020.01095.

Cartilage tissue engineering for craniofacial reconstruction

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, Korea


Severe cartilage defects and congenital anomalies affect millions of people and involve considerable medical expenses. Tissue engineering offers many advantages over conventional treatments, as therapy can be tailored to specific defects using abundant bioengineered resources. This article introduces the basic concepts of cartilage tissue engineering and reviews recent progress in the field, with a focus on craniofacial reconstruction and facial aesthetics. The basic concepts of tissue engineering consist of cells, scaffolds, and stimuli. Generally, the cartilage tissue engineering process includes the following steps: harvesting autologous chondrogenic cells, cell expansion, redifferentiation, in vitro incubation with a scaffold, and transfer to patients. Despite the promising prospects of cartilage tissue engineering, problems and challenges still exist due to certain limitations. The limited proliferation of chondrocytes and their tendency to dedifferentiate necessitate further developments in stem cell technology and chondrocyte molecular biology. Progress should be made in designing fully biocompatible scaffolds with a minimal immune response to regenerate tissue effectively.


Cartilage; Tissue; Engineering; Chondrocyte; Stem cell
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