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UVA Health System part of Armed Forces multi-million dollar effort to help soldiers
Date:4/17/2008

A procedure currently performed all over the world for cosmetic purposes might also improve wound healing and limb function for soldiers who are severely hurt and scarred during combat. Dr. Adam Katz, plastic surgeon and researcher at the University of Virginia Health System, will conduct research in this area under the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM). White House officials will announce the formation of AFIRM, which has received more than $80 million for research, on Thursday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Katz, who is the only Virginia doctor to be a part of AFIRM, will study the use of fat grafting for wounds and severe burns to improve their healing and/or to minimize their associated scarring. In one envisioned study, burn patients who have received skin grafts will receive an autologous fat transplant, in which their own fat tissue will be harvested, cleaned, and finally re-injected beneath the skin-grafted area. Katz believes the skin grafts may heal better with the placement of fat grafts, reducing and/or remodeling scar formation and mitigating scar contractures (tightness) which can limit the motion of limbs.

Traditionally fat grafting has been used to fill wrinkles or augment lips and other similar structures. More recently, a growing a number of physicians have noticed that fat grafting seems to have beneficial effects on surrounding tissue. Even more, recent published literature suggests that injecting fat around a wound helps it to heal better, said Katz. My goal now is to systematically and rigorously examine the potential effects of fat grafting on wound healing and scarring using controlled, blinded prospective studies to see if an old procedure can be used in a new way.

Katzs research also has a second component. He will extract and concentrate stem cells from fat tissue and explore their use (with or without biocompatible scaffolds) to engineer new skin or soft tissue to replace damaged d
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Contact: Abena Foreman-Trice
abena@virginia.edu
434-243-2734
University of Virginia Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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