Regenerative Medicine: From Task Force Report to Inaugural Symposium

The First Report

In October 2012, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery posted the first of the ASPS Regenerative Medicine Task Force's articles to address the scope of regenerative medicine and the evolution of clinical therapies in plastic surgery.

As lead authors, our goal was to lay out a broad range of topics - the regulatory landscape and the role of the FDA, the evolution of the field and emerging interplay between stem cells and extracellular matrices, the science and applications of regenerative medicine, and important questions about technology transfer and product development.

You can read the draft here.

The Evolution of Plastic Surgery

The report was only the first step. For many of us, "Regenerative Medicine" may still seem esoteric and removed from our day to day practice, but those days are quickly coming to an end. Our annual meetings and symposia are increasingly focused on fat for the breast, face and body; extracellular matrix and scaffolding technologies; and reconstructive innovations, often developed through US government defense funding, in burn and wound repair and limb, digit, and craniofacial reconstruction.

We designed the ASPS Regenerative Medicine Summit as the next step in the evolution of our scientific meetings.

The panel sessions have a strong focus on clinically relevant therapies and applications so that we have dedicated time for a truly interactive discussion about what our patients already expect and where we are now - including a hard look at many of the unanswered and controversial questions in the space:

  • How much do we know about the biology of acellular dermal matrix?
  • Do we know about how different types of extracellular matrix impact healing?
  • How will stem cells change the practice of plastic surgery?
  • Should the FDA tighten or relax regulations on adult stem cells?
  • What will it take to bring our practice of fat grafting to a higher level?
  • How close are we to being able to offer scarless wound healing in our practice?

Panels focused on state of the art fat grafting for the breast, adult adipose derived stem cells, external energy sources to induce healing, regenerative biomaterials for aesthetic purposes and abdominal wall reconstruction, fat grafting outcomes improvement through processing and additives are all on the program docket.

Our live surgery program broadcast from Roger Khouri's medical center in Key Biscayne will allow us to dig deeper into the technical pearls of facial rejuvenation with fat, regenerative treatment for Dupuytren's Contracture, implant to fat conversion, implant and fat procedures, and post-mastectomy breast mound regeneration with external expansion and fat.

The Next Frontier

Regenerative medicine is already creating a new frontier in healthcare delivery and national research priorities. The baby boomers will continue to age, the number of companies in the space will continue to skyrocket, and media attention will continue to be directed towards plastic surgery.

As a Task Force, we've had many discussions about the need for research and outcomes studies to avoid snake oil and false promises. As a Specialty, we can get out in front of the hype and be prepared for our patients' questions. Plastic surgery's mix of private practitioners and university-based surgeons promises a collaboration that few other specialties can boast. This new Regenerative Medicine Summit is part of ASPS' initiatives to head into the frontier prepared.