The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

In 2019, The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) awarded 33 investigator-initiated projects and allocated $891,274 to support the newest, clinically relevant research in plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area, or PSF funding mechanism.

Steps to Engineering Flexible Ear-Shaped Cartilage

Principal Investigator
Niamh O'Sullivan MD


Massachusetts General Hospital

Funding Mechanism
Research Fellowship

Focus Area
Tissue Engineering

Congenital microtia not only leaves deep psychological scars on affected children, it is also one of the most challenging pediatric reconstructive problems. It requires precise technique and artistic creativity, and the surgery is unforgiving. Total reconstruction of the external ear currently requires a subcutaneously placed ear-shaped framework of either alloplastic material or autologous costal cartilage to recreate the complex three-dimensional shape of the auricle. Tissue engineering of cartilaginous ear-shaped frameworks has also been attempted; however, the resultant cartilage is small, brittle, and inflexible. Our previously published work has shown that it is possible to engineer flexible neo-cartilage through the use of support materials simulating perichondrium (Xu, 2001). Recently, we combined fresh swine ear chondrocytes with xenogeneic lyophilized perichondrium (XLP) to engineer flexible cartilage in the shape of an adult human ear (unpublished data, see background). The large amount of harvested tissue needed for adequate chondrocyte numbers, however, makes this technique unsuitable as a clinical model. Ideally, a small number of chondrocytes obtained from an auricular or costal cartilage biopsy could be expanded in culture to produce the large numbers of cells needed for engineering an entire ear. In an effort to bring these techniques closer to a clinical scenario, we hypothesize that both auricular and costal chondrocytes, when expanded in culture and combined with either XLP or deep fascia as a pseudoperichondrium can be utilized to produce a flexible, ear-shaped, cartilaginous framework. Alternatively allogeneic or xenogeneic cells could be used.