The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2022 cycle requested a total of over $2.9 million dollars. The PSF Study Section subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated 115 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling almost $550,000 to support 19 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.

A Qualitative Assessment of Patients' Experiences with Migraine Surgery

Principal Investigator
Ahmed Afifi MD


The University of Wisconsin- Madison

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Peripheral Nerve, Cranio / Maxillofacial / Head and Neck

Migraine represents a significant public health issue, with prevalence estimates in the United States ranging from 12% to 23% according to several US public health surveillance studies. Studies show that migraine headaches are associated with reduced productivity, negative impact on work and home responsibilities, and diminished psychological well-being. In the last 15 years migraine surgery has been established as a valid and effective treatment modality, with success rates of 70-90%. Despite the significant number of peer-reviewed articles showing these results to be reproducible, migraine surgery still generates significant debate regarding its efficacy, safety, and indications. Skeptics of the procedure question the methods for evaluating results, as well as the lack of independent, unbiased evaluators.

We believe that migraine surgery changes headache patterns and affects patients in ways that cannot be fully captured using standard surveys or other quantitative methods. When compared to quantitative outcomes measures, qualitative research methodologies have different goals and distinct advantages, particularly with respect to migraine headache and migraine surgery. Qualitative methods can help researchers acquire a deeper understanding of a specific treatment and more detailed appreciation of the patient's perspective. These methods can facilitate a neutral exploration of patients' experiences, opinions, and motivations without imposing the researcher's definitions of surgical success.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate how migraine surgery impacts the character of patients' migraine headaches, as well as explore perceptions of surgery and its effect on patients' quality of life. Subjects will be assessed using semi-structured interviews 12 months after surgery performed on one of the trigger sites commonly implicated in migraine. A multidisciplinary team of individuals with expertise in surgery, pain, neurology, and family medicine will perform qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts. This will be done using a code book that has been developed by our group. We will investigate how migraine surgery changes the intensity, patterns and presentation of migraines. In addition, by exploring how migraine surgery impacts aspects of patients' lives, this project may help physicians (1) more adequately identify patients that will benefit most from this intervention and (2) counsel patients on perioperative expectations.

Dr. Afifi is an Assistant Professor of plastic surgery at the University of Wisconsin. His practice involves mostly breast reconstruction and migraine surgery. In addition, he is the Director of Research for the Plastic Surgery Division. His current research involves clinical outcomes research, and qualitative outcomes of migraine surgery. He currently has over 40 publications in peer reviewed journals, 6 book chapters and is a co-editor of a book on Extremity Replantation. He has been awarded both intramural grants from the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery and external grants the Plastic Surgery Foundation. Prior to Joining the University of Wisconsin, he completed three subspecialty fellowships, namely Aesthetic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, Hand and Microsurgery at the University of New Mexico, and Craniofacial Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.