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Digit and Limb Injury, Repair, Regeneration

Christopher Allan, MD

W.H.O. statistics from 2003 identify severe limb injuries, including but not limited to amputations, as affecting approximately ten million persons in the United States alone. Worldwide the numbers are likely many times greater, added to by high-profile events including military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Present strategies include repairing injured structures or replanting amputated parts where practical, and revising amputations with or without prosthesis fitting. Despite our best efforts none of these treatments fully restore normal function.

Recent advances have been made in several other areas, such as (from less to more speculative) hand transplantation, robotics, tissue engineering, and regeneration.

A brief review of these will be provided, followed by an extended look at human digit tip regeneration and its use as a model for studying the potential of humans to regenerate larger volumes of tissue after loss.

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Last modified: Nov 09, 2009, 22:19 EST
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