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Advancing Reconstructive Surgery Through Innovation
Posted on December 16th, 2016 by Christina Valimaki in New Materials & Applications
Over the years, the chemical industry has grown accustomed to recognizing companies, rather than individuals, for innovative breakthroughs. But the ICIS Innovation Awards sought to change that this year when they introduced the Alpha Innovator of the Year Award. Two of the individuals to receive this honor in 2016 were surgeon Marc Swan and former Oxford University professor Jan Czernuszka, who were recognized for a product that they designed to improve reconstructive plastic surgeries.
Reconstructive surgery is often done on accident victims, cancer patients and people who have had disfiguring conditions. While a skilled surgeon can frequently do wonders, a common problem that they encounter is a lack of sufficient skin or tissue to work with. Swan had particularly dealt with this problem when trying to reconstruct soft tissue defects while repairing cleft palates. He ultimately left his practice to team up with scientist Czernuszka on a solution.
The fruit of Swan and Czernuszka’s collaboration is a self-inflating tissue expander that, when inserted beneath the patient’s skin, forces the skin to “grow” as the expander increases its volume. As a result, the surgeon has more skin or tissue to work with in order to do a better, more successful reconstruction.
The two men have established a company, Oxtex, so that they can commercialize this amazing medical implant, which can be used not only to help humans, but animals, as well. For having recognized a significant unmet need and discovered a way to address it, they are well-deserving of the inaugural Alpha Innovator of the Year Award.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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