Brian T. Carlsen, M.D.is a reconstructive microsurgeon and hand surgeon with a particular interest in improving patients' lives after amputation. He works with patients with hand and leg amputations. He is interested in surgical approaches to improve function including reattachment of amputated parts, thumb and finger reconstruction with toe transfer, skeletal lengthening, hand transplantation, and targeted muscle and sensory reinnervation to improve prosthetic function. In the laboratory, he is using novel approaches to "engineer" lost body parts so that one day amputation will be a temporary condition.
- Improved patient care and outcomes through a team approach to the amputee
- Decellularization of composite tissues (including bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, nerve, fat, and skin)
- Recellularization of composite tissues (including bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, nerve, fat, and skin)
- Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) of composite tissues
- Function of transplanted (VCA) parts
Significance to patient care
VCA, such as transplant of the hand and face, holds great promise to restore rather than reconstruct patients. Unfortunately, for the transplant to survive, the patient must take toxic immunosuppression. Currently, patients must choose a non-life saving treatment and accept potentially life-risking medications. Dr. Carlsen's research is focused on transplanting tissues and body parts without the need for immunosuppression. Success would rapidly expand the field beyond its current limitations and enable people with less-severe amputations to benefit (such as partial nose or finger. Dr. Carlsen believes that it is not if, but when, this approach will be able to help patients.
- Best Paper Presentation, American Association of Hand Surgery, 2009