Feasibility and safety of a novel 3D-printed biodegradable biliary stent in an in vivo porcine model: a preliminary study

Jae Hyun Kim, Dong Heon Ha, Eui Soo Han, Young Rok Choi, Jiwon Koh, Ijin Joo, Jung Hoon Kim, Dong Woo Cho, Joon Koo Han

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To assess the feasibility and safety of a novel 3D-printed biodegradable biliary stent using polycaprolactone (PCL) in an in vivo porcine model. In this animal study using domestic pigs, biodegradable radiopaque biliary stents made of polycaprolactone (PCL) and barium sulfate were produced using 3D printing and surgically inserted into the common bile duct (CBD) of pigs (stent group, n = 12). Another five pigs were allocated to the control group that only underwent resection and anastomosis of the CBD without stent insertion. To check the position and status of the stents and stent-related complications, follow-up computed tomography (CT) was performed every month. The pigs were sacrificed 1 or 3 months after surgery, and their excised CBD specimens were examined at both the macroscopic and microscopic levels. Three pigs (one in the stent group and two in the control group) died within one day after surgery and were excluded from further analysis; the remaining 11 in the stent group and 3 in the control group survived the scheduled follow-up period (1 month, 5 and 1; and 3 months, 6 and 2 in stent and control groups, respectively). In all pigs, no clinical symptoms or radiologic evidence of biliary complications was observed. In the stent group (n = 11), stent migration (n = 1 at 3 months; n = 2 at 1 month) and stent fracture (n = 3 at 2 months) were detected on CT scans. Macroscopic evaluation of the stent indicated no significant change at 1 month (n = 3) or fragmentation with discoloration at 3 months (n = 5). On microscopic examination of CBD specimens, the tissue inflammation score was significantly higher in the stent group than in the control group (mean ± standard deviation (SD), 5.63 ± 2.07 vs. 2.00 ± 1.73; P = 0.039) and thickness of fibrosis of the CBD wall was significantly higher than that of the control group (0.46 ± 0.12 mm vs. 0.21 ± 0.05 mm; P = 0.012). Despite mild bile duct inflammation and fibrosis, 3D-printed biodegradable biliary stents showed good feasibility and safety in porcine bile ducts, suggesting their potential for use in the prevention of postoperative biliary strictures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15875
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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