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Head and Face Injury Clinical Trials

Traumatic facial injuries — from motor vehicle accidents, gunshots, military combat, or other incidents — can cause debilitating effects, such as sunken, jagged facial features and increased scarring.

While surgeons can often reconstruct the bones of the face, it's difficult to return the soft tissue back to its original form.

Experts at the UPMC Center for Innovation in Restorative Medicine are researching a new form of facial reconstruction, called fat grafting, to improve soft tissue deformities in the head and face.

While fat grafting is a common procedure — plastic surgeons performed approximately 65,000 in 2011 — using it for facial reconstruction is a completely new, experimental use of this well-known treatment. We believe this technique of fat grafting could be of significant benefit to patients with severe head and face injuries.

How Does Facial Reconstruction with Fat Grafting Work?

Fat grafting is a minimally invasive facial reconstructive surgical procedure. Surgeons remove a patient’s own fat from an area where it is less needed and transfer it to areas that have lost shape or fullness.

Because fat does not have much structure or volume, facial fat grafting is especially challenging.

Surgeons and researchers at UPMC are now able to maximize the effectiveness of fat grafting by:

  • Stripping down the collected fat to the most dense, stem cell-rich fat.
  • Injecting the refined fat into the deformed area.

Researchers believe that this stem cell-rich fat promotes blood vessel growth and blood flow, volume, and lift, which is crucial for not only the survival of the fat graft but also to promote healing and stability.

Are These Facial Reconstruction Fat Grafting Trials Right for You?

Learn more about these current clinical trials:

​For more information or to learn if you qualify to participate in a research study, call (412) 864-2587 or use our online form.

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