Grafts in myringoplasty: utilizing a silk fibroin scaffold as a novel device.

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2009 Nov;6(6):653-64.
Grafts in myringoplasty: utilizing a silk fibroin scaffold as a novel device.
Levin B, Rajkhowa R, Redmond SL, Atlas MD.
Ear Science Institute Australia, Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery, The University of Western Australia, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia.
Chronic perforations of the eardrum or tympanic membrane represent a significant source of morbidity worldwide. Myringoplasty is the operative repair of a perforated tympanic membrane and is a procedure commonly performed by otolaryngologists. Its purpose is to close the tympanic membrane, improve hearing and limit patient susceptibility to middle ear infections. The success rates of the different surgical techniques used to perform a myringoplasty, and the optimal graft materials to achieve complete closure and restore hearing, vary significantly in the literature. A number of autologous tissues, homografts and synthetic materials are described as graft options. With the advent and development of tissue engineering in the last decade, a number of biomaterials have been studied and attempts have been made to mimic biological functions with these materials. Fibroin, a core structural protein in silk from silkworms, has been widely studied with biomedical applications in mind. Several cell types, including keratinocytes, have grown on silk biomaterials, and scaffolds manufactured from silk have successfully been used in wound healing and for tissue engineering purposes. This review focuses on the current available grafts for myringoplasty and their limitations, and examines the biomechanical properties of silk, assessing the potential benefits of a silk fibroin scaffold as a novel device for use as a graft in myringoplasty surgery.