Regenerative Facial Reconstruction
McGowan Institute researchers are developing techniques to give a patient a natural-looking, fully functioning face that fits with the patient's self image and will not be rejected by the patient's immune system. When facial trauma, disease, or congenital malformations interfere with the function of the face and skull, the ability to communicate, self-image, and quality of life can all be destroyed. While face transplantation has been performed successfully, it requires that the patient take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life.
To help new tissues combine with the patient’s own, we’re working on methods that rely on a patient’s own cells. And to make sure that new tissues will be capable of the expressiveness we rely on to communicate, we’re developing robotic devices that can replicate facial movements and thus “train” muscles as they regrow. We’re also working on lab-grown implants that can help regenerate the complex facial structures of bone, cartilage, muscle, and skin.