Navigate Up
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Our Experts

Ghassan Bejjani, M.D.
Biography

University of Pittsburgh Neurosurgeon Studying Substitute Brain Covering

PITTSBURGH, March 6, 2001 — A University of Pittsburgh neurosurgeon has begun a study to evaluate the use of a medical material created from pig intestines to substitute as a covering for the brain or spinal cord following trauma or surgery. The medical device is called Durasis™ Dural Substitute and is being studied to determine if it can be a good substitute for dura mater, is the toughest and most fibrous layer of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.

"Following most craniotomy procedures, the dura mater requires repair or augmentation in order to stop leakage of cerebral spinal fluid and prevent infection," said Ghassan Bejjani, M.D., assistant professor in the department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and principal investigator in the study. "The ideal substitute for dura mater has not been found despite over 100 years of experimentation using many types of biologic and non-living tissues."

The ideal dura mater substitute, according to Dr. Bejjani, must be non-toxic, easily suturable, non-permeable, have minimal elasticity and be readily available and inexpensive.

In laboratory studies, Durasis, made from the pig small intestinal submucosa, has been found to have many of the ideal material properties required for repairing and replacing dura mater.

"Over time, Durasis is expected to take on the cellular characteristics of surrounding dural tissue," said Dr. Bejjani. "In addition to forming a nonpermeable barrier, Durasis acts as a scaffold on which human tissue grows. As it becomes overgrown with cells, it is absorbed by the body."

The study, which has already enrolled several patients, will evaluate the safety of Durasis and assess any surgical complications including infections or cerebral spinal fluid leaks. The material, which is used in commercially available medical devices intended for general soft-tissue reinforcement, is manufactured by Cook Biotech, Inc. of West Lafayette, Ind.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com