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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.

Prospective Longitudinal Study of Non-Operative Thumb CMC Arthritis Interventions

Principal Investigator
James Higgins MD


MedStar Health Research Institute

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant

Focus Area
Hand or Upper Extremity, Economics/Quality/Outcomes

We propose a prospective longitudinal pragmatic comparative study of two different nonoperative interventions and of two different operative interventions for patients with primary thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis, one of the most common ailments treated by hand surgeons. Our long-term objectives are to provide definitive information about, and recommendations for treating, primary thumb CMC arthritis patients. Our first specific aim is to compare patients who choose corticosteroid injection to those who choose hand therapy as part of their initial management. Our second specific aim is to compare patients who, based on surgeon preference and shared decision-making with patients, undergo trapeziectomy alone or trapeziectomy with ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI). Our first hypothesis is that patients who undergo corticosteroid injection will have improved early results (<8 weeks) compared to those who use hand therapy for their initial CMC arthritis care, but that these differences will diminish over time. Our second hypothesis is that patients who have trapeziectomy alone for surgical treatment of thumb CMC arthritis will have equivalent short-term results (<3 months) and mid-term results (3-12 months) compared to those who have trapeziectomy with LTRI. For both portions of the study we will compare several patient-rated outcomes from initial presentation to final follow-up. We will also include important and underutilized measures such as patient expectations and satisfaction, and track complications throughout the study. Both study portions will be powered to demonstrate equivalence if no significant differences are found. This study will meet a longstanding need for adequately powered prospective standard-practice studies of thumb CMC arthritis to address knowledge gaps by using validated outcomes instruments and other patient-reported measures that are lacking in the current literature. This project is important because it has the opportunity to create healthcare standards for conservative and surgical care of thumb CMC arthritis. This condition is very common and a leading cause of pain and disability, and it is critical to better understand the best ways to care for these patients. This will have a substantial impact on healthcare costs as well as patient physical and psychosocial well-being.

Dr. James Higgins is the principle investigator. As Chief of The Curtis National Hand Center (CNHC), Dr. Higgins is world-renowned as a leader in clinical and investigative aspects of plastic and reconstructive surgery. He is uniquely positioned to lead this study due to the support of the robust research team and the large clinical volume at CNHC. Dr. Higgins is board certified in Plastic Surgery and holds the Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand. Dr. Kenneth Means, Jr., co-investigator, is board certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and holds the Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand. He is the CNHC Clinical Research Consultant and has over a decade of clinical and research experience at CNHC. Dr. Aviram Giladi is the CNHC Research Director, an actively practicing board-eligible plastic surgeon, and collaborator on this study. Dr. Giladi received his Master’s through the Robert Wood Johnson Health Services Research program, and brings expertise in clinical outcomes and healthcare delivery relevant to this proposal. These surgeon-scientists have led, published, and/or received grants for over 100 research studies. The CNHC has full-time research personnel including a research coordinator, editor, biostatistician, and several research associates. The CNHC clinical practice includes 15 Plastic and Orthopaedic surgeons and trains 5 fellows and several Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery residents annually.