Mechanical reinforcement of amniotic membranes for vesicovaginal fistula repair

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Introduction: Amniotic membranes (AM) have shown its great potential in reconstructive surgery due to their regenerative capacity. However, AM is regarded to be relatively weak when applied for load-bearing purposes. This study aims to produce an AM-based scaffold that can withstand the mechanical loads applied in vesicovaginal fistula repair. Different strategies are investigated to improve the mechanical characteristics of AM. Methods: Single and multilayered AM, and composite constructs of AM with electrospun poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB) or bovine pericardial tissue combined with the use of fibrin glue, were mechanically tested in this study. Suture retention strength and mechanical characteristics (tensile stress, elongation, tangent modulus and maximum load) were assessed by uniaxial testing. The effect of degradation of the composite constructs on the mechanical characteristics was determined by uniaxial testing after 4 and 8 weeks. Results: Single and multilayered AM could not provide the mechanical requirements needed for surgical implantation (>2N load). AM was combined successfully with electrospun P4HB and bovine pericardium with the use of fibrin glue and were able to exceed the 2N load. Conclusion: The composite constructs with AM showed sufficient mechanical characteristics for surgical implantation. Electrospun P4HB combined with AM seemed the most promising candidate since the mechanical characteristics of P4HB can be further modified to meet the requirements of the application site and the degradation of the P4HB allows a gradual transfer of load. Eventhough the scaffold is intended for fistula repair, it can potentially be applied in surgical reconstruction of other hollow organs by modifying the mechanical characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105680
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Amniotic membrane
  • Bovine pericardium
  • Mechanical characteristics
  • Poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB)
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Tissue engineering

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