Clinical and Surgical Science

The Department of Plastic Surgery's researchers are at the forefront of innovative development and evaluation of surgical and clinical strategies that improve standard of care. The diversity of technical challenges being addressed requires the cadre of researchers to conduct translational research across numerous disparate disciplines to create novel and cost-effective therapeutics, medical devices and clinical protocols for cancer-related deformities. The following provides an overview of research highlights:

Preoperative Planning

Integrating novel technologies and clinical experience to develop innovative patient-specific surgical planning tools. This research area couples clinical science, biomechanics, behavioral science, medical imaging, computer science and visualization. Current focus areas include midface and breast reconstruction.

Clinical Decision Support

Multi-media patient database archiving and management and effective logical data mining to provide surgeons multi-factorial knowledge content with which to make optimum surgical and clinical care decisions. This bioinformatics area of study is critical for designing and conducting meaningful retro and prospective clinical studies.

Surgical Strategies

Assessing standard and developing new strategies to overcome surgical limitations. Current research studies include:

  • Developing and evaluating novel breast reconstruction techniques
  • Elucidating factors that abrogate free flap viability and integrity
  • Designing and optimizing biomaterials and their application to improve reconstruction
  • Developing novel bone reconstruction techniques for pediatric cancer patients
  • Assessing speech and swallowing function following oral/pharyngeal reconstruction
  • Treating skin disorders with cryogenically-cooled lasers
  • Restoring erectile function subsequent to prostate removal via nerve reconstruction
  • Conducting sentinel lymph node biopsy for early detection of ocular tumors
  • Assessing the effect of immuno- and molecular therapies on ocular tumors

Quantitative Metrics

Developing metrics and tools to objectively measure surgical, aesthetic, and functional outcomes. Technologies under development include defining metrics of breast aesthetics following reconstruction, quantitative visualization methods for midface bone defects and breast skin elasticity.