Plastic Surgery Research

The Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is conducting research on a number of fronts. Paralleling its strong clinical focus on children born with congenital deformities, the division concentrates much of its clinical research activities on cleft and craniofacial surgery. In addition, western Pennsylvania provides a large experience in pediatric facial fractures and craniofacial trauma. This experience has resulted in scientific inquiry regarding the treatment and long-term follow-up of these pediatric patients, particularly the growth and development of the injured craniofacial skeleton.

The division’s clinical practice also focuses on novel uses of allograft and autograft nerve grafting in brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries. Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center pursues novel treatment of these complex clinical entities. Other clinical work focuses on the treatment of complex congenital hand conditions and novel clinical approaches. This work is augmented by basic science research into novel approaches to linear scleroderma affecting the hand and digits to optimize surgical outcomes.

The division is also involved in translational research on the molecular interactions that lead to craniosynostosis. The healing of large bone defects represents a complicated clinical problem in the pediatric population. Therefore, focused research into the application of growth factor-based treatments for bone regeneration is underway. As well, novel means to control cell differentiation are currently being investigated in hopes of improving tissue engineering techniques for craniofacial regenerative medicine.

Additional work focuses on the regenerative potential of muscle-derived progenitor cells and their contribution to pathologic heterotopic ossification – work that has been recognized and supported by the Plastic Surgery Foundation.

Significant improvement in the care of children with congenital craniofacial abnormalities, nerve injuries and bone development issues, can only come from strong, collaborative, translational research—the kind that is found at Children’s today.


Clinical Studies

Facial Fracture Growth

Pediatric Facial Fracture Growth and Development Study

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Plastic Surgery Database and Research Registry

Pediatric Plastic Surgery and Cleft-Craniofacial Center Clinical Database and Research Registry

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