Louis C. Argenta, MD, FACS, received the 2016 Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at a dinner in his honor June 3 in Chicago, IL. The Jacobson Award honors Dr. Argenta, professor and chairman emeritus, department of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, for his work with Wake Forest bioengineer Michael Morykwas, PhD, in the development of vacuum-assisted closure (VAC), a paradigm-changing approach to treating difficult wounds and burns. The prestigious Jacobson Innovation Award honors living surgeons who have contributed to the development of a new device or technique in any field of surgery and is made possible through a gift from Joan and Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS. Dr. Jacobson is a general vascular surgeon known for his pioneering work in microsurgery.
VAC, which uses negative pressure wound therapy, has received wide recognition as the most important advancement in wound healing in the last 25 years. By clinically applying a controlled vacuum to a wound through a special device, the body is induced to heal spontaneously. VAC has prevented an estimated 1 million amputations and has been used in the treatment of more than 14 million patients worldwide. U.S. military medical personnel have used the treatment for almost all battlefield injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, dramatically reducing wound infection and complications and significantly improving the outcomes of wounded soldiers.
Dr. Argenta is an internationally recognized expert in mechanobiology—the application of controlled mechanical energy to induce biological changes in living tissue—and its applications in clinical medicine. He helped to develop and popularize the surgical technique of tissue expansion to generate living tissue for reconstructive surgery. Tissue expansion is now used throughout the world for complicated breast, facial, and scalp reconstruction operations. In 1995, Dr. Argenta and Lisa Renee David, MD, FACS, recognized that children who remained in one position while sleeping on their backs developed skull deformities due to the mechanical force placed on the malleable neonatal skull. Drs. Argenta and David demonstrated that helmet therapy, rather than a surgical procedure, could correct deformities because there was not a true bony fusion in the skull. Dr. Argenta’s work has allowed infants with skull deformities to develop normally while avoiding major cranial surgery.
Dr. Argenta has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2015 Wake Forest University Medallion of Merit Award, the 2013 American Association of Plastic Surgeons Achievement Award for Clinical Research, and the 2012 Plastic Surgery Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award.
Dr. Argenta and his wife Ginger have eight children, three of whom work in medicine. Read an ACS press release announcing the 2016 Jacobson Innovation Award.
For a list of previous Jacobson Innovation Award winners, visit the ACS website.