Evaluation of the short-term host response and biomechanics of an absorbable poly-4-hydroxybutyrate scaffold in a sheep model following vaginal implantation

Chantal M. Diedrich, Zeliha Guler, Lucie Hympanova, Eva Vodegel, Manuel Zündel, Edoardo Mazza, Jan Deprest, Jan Paul Roovers

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Objective: To evaluate the host- and biomechanical response to a fully absorbable poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB) scaffold in comparison with the response to polypropylene (PP) mesh. Design: In vivo animal experiment. Setting: KU Leuven Center for Surgical Technologies. Population: Fourteen parous female Mule sheep. Methods: P4HB scaffolds were surgically implanted in the posterior vaginal wall of sheep. The comparative PP mesh data were obtained from an identical study protocol performed previously. Main outcome measures: Gross necropsy, host response and biomechanical evaluation of explants, and the in vivo P4HB scaffold degradation were evaluated at 60- and 180-days post-implantation. Data are reported as mean ± standard deviation (SD) or standard error of the mean (SEM). Results: Gross necropsy revealed no implant-related adverse events using P4HB scaffolds. The tensile stiffness of the P4HB explants increased at 180-days (12.498 ± 2.66 N/mm SEM [p =0.019]) as compared to 60-days (4.585 ± 1.57 N/mm) post-implantation, while P4HB degraded gradually. P4HB scaffolds exhibited excellent tissue integration with dense connective tissue and a moderate initial host response. P4HB scaffolds induced a significantly higher M2/M1 ratio (1.70 ± 0.67 SD, score 0–4), as compared to PP mesh(0.99 ± 0.78 SD, score 0–4) at 180-days. Conclusions: P4HB scaffold facilitated a gradual load transfer to vaginal tissue over time. The fully absorbable P4HB scaffold, in comparison to PP mesh, has a favorable host response with comparable load-bearing capacity. If these results are also observed at longer follow-up in-vivo, a clinical study using P4HB for vaginal POP surgery may be warranted to demonstrate efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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