department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

Center for Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology

About the Center

The Center for Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary center dedicated to the evaluation of the functional recovery of patients treated for head and neck cancer, trauma, and craniofacial defects. The Center’s mission is to improve the quality of life and function of patients afflicted with head and neck cancer, trauma, or craniofacial defects through discovery, application, clinical efficacy, and outcomes research.

The Center structure bridges basic scientists with clinical scientists to facilitate the development of innovative technologies in the focus areas of oral function assessment, 3D imaging, biomechanics, tissue surface interfaces (osseointegration), tissue engineering, and gene therapy. Future goals include the evaluation of functional recovery of patients treated with complex dental  treatments.

The Center will bridge the known strengths of the clinical and research programs of the Head and Neck Cancer Center in Hollings Cancer Center, the  MUSC Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice & Swallowing in the Department of Otolaryngology and College of Health Professions, and the College of Dental Medicine. The center will house multi-specialists including head and neck surgeons, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapists, speech pathologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, dentists, and maxillofacial prosthodontists.

The anticipated benefit to patients’ function and quality of life will be significant. The results of this research will primarily benefit the overall quality of life of our patients and their families. They will be able to make informed treatment decisions based on evidence regarding their potential for functional recovery. In addition, the collaboration between specialists and the data that will be gathered will help identify those key factors that will be critical in determining the functional outcomes of patients related to the type of head and neck cancer, trauma, and craniofacial  treatment.

Return to top of page...

The Purpose of the Center

Treatments for head and neck cancer currently include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. However, there has not been extensive investigation into treatment options and functional outcomes. Head and neck cancer is one of the most devastating forms of cancer with high functional morbidity. Bodily functions such as speaking, swallowing, and chewing, taken for granted by the general population,  are often dramatically impaired in head and neck cancer survivors. For many years, these patients were known as the “forgotten” patients.

With the advent of free tissue transfer, the use of dental implants, new speech and swallowing treatments, the  rehabilitation efforts have significantly increased and improved. Rehabilitation treatment, however, is usually dictated by “clinical experience” rather than evidence based studies. Similarly, treatments for head and neck trauma and craniofacial defects are dictated by the experience of the clinician versus evidence based studies.

Our goal  is to develop a mechanism to collect and analyze outcome data in order to measure the functional recovery of patients treated for head and neck cancer, trauma, and craniofacial  defects. Tested, existing methods will be used to obtain the functional data and the outcome results will lead to discoveries regarding necessary modifications to current testing methods, medical therapies, rehabilitation approaches, and to the development of innovative rehabilitation technologies and treatments.

The focus of the Center for Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology  is to develop an evidence based center on the functional outcomes of patients treated for head and neck cancer, trauma, and craniofacial patients. Currently there exists insufficient evidence to support the functional significance of routinely applied rehabilitative treatments. Anectodal and small cohort studies speak to the potential for improved patient function and quality of life, however the empirical data are lacking. This lack of data is in large part related to the difficulty in structuring multidisciplinary testing, treatment, and research efforts.

Return to top of page...

Clemson University/MUSC Bioengineering Program

The MUSC Center of Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology is closely tied with Clemson University’s Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering (IBIOE). The IBIOE is a state-approved, multi-institutional  research institute dedicated to the development of clinically relevant biomaterials technology and products for disease management and the transfer of this technology for patient care through leading biomaterials-related education, research, and training. Technical focus areas of the Institute are advanced biomaterials, human centered electronic collaborations, engineered tissues and tissue diagnostics. 

In the fall of 2003, a joint bioengineering research and research training program was established through a formal agreement between Clemson University (CU) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  This partnership provides a comprehensive translational and clinical research opportunities for Clemson bioengineering faculty  and students and expanded research and graduate degree opportunities at MUSC.  The CU-MUSC Bioengineering Program is a manifestation of growing education and research partnerships between Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina which are dedicated to excellence in education, to multi-disciplinary biomedical research, and to the clinical translation of its outcomes.  

Return to top of page...

Current Research Projects

  • Fabrication of nasoalveolar molding appliances through rapid prototyping, 3D imaging, and haptics.
  • Fabrication of bony templates for surgical placement of implants in the craniofacial region.
  • Investigating implant osseointegration in the developing child.
  • Fabrication of soft and bony tissue using cell based platforms and rapid prototyping techniques.

Return to top of page...

Past Research Projects

  • Day T, Davis BK, et al.:  Experience with Three Dimensional Modeling in Head and Neck Reconstruction, Advanced Digital Technology in Head and Neck Reconstruction.  Banff Canada March 2005.
  • Davis BK, Emert R, Attaway B, et al.  The Use of Medical Imaging and Rapid Prototyping in Prosthetic Auricular Reconstruction.  International Congress on Maxillofacial Rehabilitation and American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Hawaii October 2006. 
  • Smith A, Davis B, Bandyopadhyay D, Brodsky MB, Martin-Harris B, Grasso K:   Masticatory Efficiency and Facial Appearance Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects. International Society  on Maxillofacial Rehabilitation and American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Hawaii October 2006. 
  • Grasso K, Davis B, Brodsky MB, Bandyopadhyay D, Martin-Harris B, Smith A:  Quality of Life and Swallowing Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects.  International Society  on Maxillofacial Rehabilitation and American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Hawaii October 2006. 
  • Smith A, Davis B, Bandyopadhyay D, Brodsky MB, Martin-Harris B, Grasso K:   Masticatory Efficiency and Facial Appearance Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects. MUSC Student Research Day, November  2006. 
  • Grasso K, Davis B, Brodsky MB, Bandyopadhyay D, Martin-Harris B, Smith A:  Quality of Life and Swallowing Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects.  MUSC Student Research Day, Novemer 2006.   Second Place
  • Reece, Gregory, Davis B:  Normative Mandibular Movements.  MUSC Student Research Day, November 2007.
  • Smith A, Davis B, Bandyopadhyay D, Brodsky MB, Martin-Harris B, Grasso K:   Masticatory Efficiency and Facial Appearance Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects. 7th International Conference on Head & Neck Cancer, San Francisco July 2008 . 
  • Grasso K, Davis B, Brodsky MB, Bandyopadhyay D, Martin-Harris B, Smith A:  Quality of Life and Swallowing Outcomes of Prosthetic Obturation and Surgical Reconstruction of Maxillary Defects.  7th International Conference on Head & Neck Cancer, San Francisco July 2008.
  • Reece, Gregory, Davis B:  Normative Mandibular Movements.  7th International Conference on Head & Neck Cancer, San Francisco July 2008.
  • Davis B, Hodgkins D:  Patient Education in the Maxillofacial Prosthodontic Setting.  7th International Conference on Head & Neck Cancer, San Francisco July 2008.

Return to top of page...

 Helping Head & Neck Cancer Patients with Prosthetics

  Return to top of page...


Return to Clinical Expertise...