2015 Winner: Bohdan Pomahac, MD
Director, Plastic Surgery Transplantation and Medical Director, Burn Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
From battlefield to bedside: A portable device for rescuing limbs
More than 1 million Americans live with missing arms and/or legs, many of them due to traumatic amputation. Likewise, more than 1,200 of our servicemen and servicewomen lost one or more limbs in recent wars. Following traumatic amputation, detached extremities can survive for only four to six hours. Pomahac’s team has developed a portable machine that can keep detached arms and legs alive up to three times longer than what is currently possible. It will also provide amputees with a better chance of receiving an arm or leg transplant years after their trauma by enabling successful transportation of donated limbs.
Since January 2009, Bohdan Pomahac, MD, has led the BWH Burn Center as medical director while also performing a broad range of plastic surgery and microsurgery procedures. He established the Plastic Surgery Transplantation Program at BWH, one of the world’s leading centers in face and vascularized composite tissue allotransplantation (VCA). As a pioneer in the field of VCA transplantation, Pomahac led the teams that performed the second partial face transplant and the first three full face transplant procedures in the US. His research team is currently working on implementation of immunosuppression minimization strategies in clinical trials, development of technology to extend the viability of tissues, and other research topics related to VCA transplantation and plastic surgery.