Purpose of review: To summarize the so far applied clinical methods of tracheal replacement, comparing pros and cons of conventional and tissue-engineered approaches.
Recent findings: Several strategies have been most recently described to replace the trachea-like aortic homografts, allotransplantation, and tissue engineering. Allotransplantation requires lifelong immunosuppression and this may be ethically questioned being not a lifesaving procedure. Tissue-engineered tracheal transplantation has been clinically applied using biological or bioartificial tubular or bifurcated scaffolds reseeded with mesenchymal stromal cells, and bioactive molecules boosting regeneration and promoting neovascularization.
Summary: Tracheal tissue engineering may be a promising alternative to conventional allotransplantation in adults and children. Different methods have been developed and are currently under active clinical investigation, and await long-term results.