The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant Applicants for 2020 requested more than $4.1 million. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic and Translational Research and Clinical Research Evaluated 111 applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded Research Grants totaling more than $860,000 to support 24 plastic surgery research proposals.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/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.

Can Neuroimaging Provide Objective Evidence of the Efficacy of Migraine Surgery?

Principal Investigator
Ahmed Afifi MD


University of Wisconsin-Madison (Board of Regents University of Wisconsin System)

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

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

The value and efficacy of surgery to treat migraines and other chronic headache conditions has been shown in multiple studies from various institutions across the country. However, there are multiple questions yet to be answered on the mechanism of surgery, its efficacy in relation to the specific headache types or diagnosis, and how to improve on the 75-90% reported success rate. There are multiple studies that proved the efficacy of surgery, including retrospective and prospective studies, but there has been little objective evidence that surgery changes the different mechanism implicated in migraine headaches. There has been renewed interest in neuroimaging, mostly MRI studies, in diagnosing and guiding migraine treatment. Some of the MRI changes seen in chronic migraine patients are also seen in other chronic pain conditions, and have been shown to be reversible if the pain source is eliminated. This study is aimed at 1- showing that nerve decompression surgery for migraines is effective and not a placebo, and 2- shedding light on the mechanism of action of nerve decompression surgery, and whether it decreases peripheral stimuli to the brain in patients with a hypersensitive central nervous system, or eliminates a true and localized compression of one of the peripheral nerves. We are aiming to study the MRI findings before and after migraine surgery. Our team includes a plastic surgeon with a busy migraine practice, and a neuroradiologist with previous experience in studying MRI changes after treatment of chronic conditions. We will be obtaining both static and functional MRIs before and 6 months after surgery for all study patients regardless of surgical outcome. The static MRI will show the architectural brain anatomy, which we know is altered in patient with chronic migraines. Documenting a reversal of these alterations after a successful surgery will provide, for the first time, objective evidence of the success of surgery. Functional MRI studies the response of the brain to different triggers, emotions, stimuli, etc. The changes in functional MRIs have also been well described in chronic migraine patients. We will obtain functional MRIs before and 6 months after surgery, and compare these dynamic changes in the brain in response to stimuli that would usually trigger a migraine in each patient. This will prove that surgery changes the response of the patient to triggering stimuli, and that the result of surgery is not a placebo.

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.