Electrochemical Reshaping of Cartilage
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Cartilage is a structural component of the head and neck whose functions include joint movement, and airway effectiveness. Deformations or other defects can occur from trauma, cancer, or congenital malformation. However, the current methods of reshaping or replacing missing structures are very medieval. The cartilage, despite being flexible, still resists mechanical reforming and surgeons often have to use maneuvers such as cutting, scoring, suturing, and morselizing in an attempt to balance the intrinsic elastic forces within the tissue. During the course of investigating the use of lasers to heat and reshape cartilage, Dr. Brian Wong at U.C. Irvine has discovered that the application of electrical potential across cartilage is an effective method of reforming the tissue. However, the mechanism for the process is not entirely understood. In a collaborative effort with Dr. Wong?s group at U.C. Irvine, we intend to elucidate the underlying chemical mechanism of the reforming process, developing experimental methods to optimize the procedure and minimize cell and tissue damage.