Current Status of Tissue Engineering in the Management of Severe Hypospadias.
Hypospadias, characterized by misplacement of the urinary meatus in the lower side of the penis, is a frequent birth defect in male children. Because of the huge variation in the anatomic presentation of hypospadias, no single urethroplasty procedure is suitable for all situations. Hence, many surgical techniques have emerged to address the shortage of tissues required to bridge the gap in the urethra particularly in the severe forms of hypospadias. However, the rate of postoperative complications of currently available surgical procedures reaches up to one-fourth of the patients having severe hypospadias. Moreover, these urethroplasty techniques are technically demanding and require considerable surgical experience. These limitations have fueled the development of novel tissue engineering techniques that aim to simplify the surgical procedures and to reduce the rate of complications. Several types of biomaterials have been considered for urethral repair, including synthetic and natural polymers, which in some cases have been seeded with cells prior to implantation. These methods have been tested in preclinical and clinical studies, with variable degrees of success. This review describes the different urethral tissue engineering methodologies, with focus on the approaches used for the treatment of hypospadias. At present, despite many significant advances, the search for a suitable tissue engineering approach for use in routine clinical applications continues.