The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2021 cycle requested a total of over $3.3 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 106 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling more than $755,000 to support 25 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Teaching and Assessing Operative Judgment in Plastic Surgery

Principal Investigator
Becher Alhalabi MD


The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

Funding Mechanism
ASE/ PSF Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic / Reconstructive), Education

Breast augmentation is the most commonly practiced aesthetic surgery among females in the USA, however, exposure to and hands on experience is highly variable among residency programs. This is in part due to high stakes and expectations of patients paying for the procedure, and thus trainee involvement seems to be limited and heterogeneous. Surgical education is moving towards a competency based model, and expert educators in plastic surgery have expressed the need for a competency-based curriculum and assessment tools to ensure a minimum standard of care. In particular, there is also a need to better structure aesthetic surgery curricula and to help compensate for variations in exposure partly through the use of simulation.
Members of our group are currently developing a physical part-task trainer for breast augmentation surgery. While this simulator will provide basic technical skill training, decision making elements will not be addressed with this model. Virtual patients have been recognized as an effective instructional strategy to engage learners and require them to consider and make clinical decisions in the care of a virtual patient. The goal of this project is to create a virtual patient based module to teach and assess decision-making related to the operative care of patients undergoing breast augmentation.
Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), is a methodology used to help extract information and details of a domain or a skill from experts. We intend to conduct CTA-based interviews with expert plastic surgeons to define important operative decision-making points and potential pitfalls in breast augmentation. Once collated and analyzed, these data will be used to create virtual patient scenarios using DecisionSim that allows learners to make decisions around identified issues. Once this educational tool is created, we will have novice and experienced surgeons go through cases and manage patients. We will then identify differences in patterns and performance to create an assessment tool based on decisions made by experts. We eventually intend to create a curriculum that will be combine the physical simulator and virtual patients to create a hybrid simulator. This work may help improve the quality and effectiveness of aesthetic surgery education and may better ensure that trainees are competent to perform breast augmentation. This methodology may potentially be used as a template to develop additional modules for other procedures in plastic surgery

Becher Alhalabi is a Masters candidate in Experimental Surgery at McGill University. He holds a Bachelor of Science, an MD, as well as a Masters in Health Professional Education. He is interested in research and development of surgical education and assessment tools. Dr. Alhalabi is supervised by Dr. Gilardino, Director of the McGill Plastic Surgery Residency Program and an Associate Professor of Surgery at McGill, and Dr. Vassiliou, the Associate Director of the McGill Medical Simulation Centre and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at McGill.