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.

Validating SCAR-Q: A Patient-Reported Outcome Instrument for Scars

Principal Investigator
Natalia Ziolkowski MD, PhD


The Hospital for Sick Children

Funding Mechanism
Research Fellowship

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar, Economics/Quality/Outcomes

Scars can be formed by surgeries, accidents, or burn injuries. A patient-reported outcome (PRO) instrument is a questionnaire measuring concepts that matter to patients (like symptoms, appearance, and quality of life) by asking patients directly. The study's objective is to validate a PRO instrument that can be used to evaluate scars from the patient perspective. A preliminary PRO measure for scar patients (SCAR-Q) has been developed by our team and we are now ready to test this internationally. Our study has four Specific Aims:
1) First, we want to make sure that this PRO instrument can be used in patients with all types of scars. It was originally created using data from surgical and traumatic (after accidents) scars and the preliminary analysis shows that it can be used in the burn population. By field-testing this instrument in patients with all scar etiologies, we will ensure that it can be used with all patients with scars and burns.
2) Second, we want to ensure this PRO instrument can be used for both children and adults. By testing this instrument on a large group of adult and pediatric patients we will know if it works for patients over the age of eight. We chose 8 and above as that is a time when children can reliably answer questions about themselves (“self-report”). We will do this by having both children and adults fill out the questions.
3) We want to make sure this PRO instrument can be used all across North American and internationally so that it can reach the largest group of patients possible and have the greatest impact. We will do this by testing it out in a large group of patients in and outside North America.
4) We want to ensure that our scales are reliable. From week to week, we know scars don't change (unless patients undergo surgery or procedure to the scar itself) so we want to make sure that patient responses to our scales don't change. We will test a small subset of people twice, the second time a week after they first completed the questions. This will make sure that our instrument has “test-retest reliability”.

Once completed, we anticipate that SCAR-Q will provide the U.S., Canadian and international traumatic, surgical and burn scar populations with a tool that can be used to collect meaningful, precise and reliable information on important patient centered outcomes. The SCAR-Q has potential for widespread use in both clinical and research settings and with it, we hope to revolutionize the field of scar modulation.

Currently, Dr. Ziolkowski is a resident physician training to be a plastic surgeon at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. Because of her interest in research she has also been accepted to the Surgeon Scientist Training Program and Clinician Investigator Program to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. During the last few years, she has participated in numerous research projects which has led to publications, grants, scholarships, and awards in multiple areas of plastic surgery leading to an interest in scars and reconstruction. This interest has led to pursing a Ph.D. thesis that involves creating a questionnaire, or patient-reported outcome instrument, related to how scars affect a person emotionally, physically, psychologically, socially, and how it impacts quality of life overall. This work has the ability to change the way scars are treated worldwide. We will be better able to understand which scar management treatments are most successful from the patient perspective and may be used world-wide to inform clinical practice, comparative effectiveness research and discussions with healthcare payers. She hopes this is the beginning of a career in academic plastic surgery that will focus on scar management, reconstruction, and burns.