Over the past century, research has been an important focus of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery faculty at Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Vilray P. Blair, one of the founders of the plastic surgery specialty, joined the faculty in 1902. Blair not only became a leader in research — setting the standard for craniofacial construction and developing many new techniques — but also trained many plastic surgeons who made important contributions in the field.

Today, faculty members continue that tradition of excellence. Most recently, Dr. Susan E. Mackinnon, chief of the Division, performed the world’s first donor nerve transplant — a procedure that can save what were previously considered irreparably damaged limbs — and is moving ahead with research in that area.

Other Division research projects include:

Basic Science Laboratory

  • Motor and sensory nerve grafts for repair after injury
  • Immunosuppressants and their role in nerve regeneration
  • Effects of Schwann cells and cold-preserved grafts in nerve injury repair
  • Nerve regeneration in alternative models

Clinical Research

  • Clinical trials evaluating the outcomes of various types of breast reconstruction
  • Study of limb and nerve transplantation
  • Assessment of topical management of chronic wounds
  • Evaluation of transplant/grafting in the cauda equina
  • Assessment of quality of life after nerve injury
  • Evaluation of physical assessment diagnostic techniques

See faculty research areas.

Learn more about

  •  Research projects being conducted by the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Volunteer for Health