The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 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 Shared-Decision Tool to Improve Communication About Breast Reconstruction

Principal Investigator
Ronnie Shammas MD


Duke University Medical Center

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic / Reconstructive), Economics/Quality/Outcomes

Approximately 110,000 women underwent breast reconstruction (BR) in 2017. Studies suggest, however, that the decision to undergo BR is poorly informed, and patients differ from their physicians regarding expectations about the perioperative experience and ultimate aesthetic outcomes. Women undergoing BR are often dissatisfied with the additional number of surgeries required and may over-estimate their post reconstructive well-being. Pre-operative discussions and available shared-decision aids often center around the initial reconstructive surgery, rather than post-reconstructive outcomes, which may account for a lack of clear and accurate expectations of the aesthetic and physical results of surgery. This allows for a misalignment between patient values and expectations, ultimately serving as a barrier to high-quality shared-decision making. The objective of this grant is to develop a shared decision-making aid to facilitate communication about post-reconstructive expectations between patients and their plastic surgeons; thus, improving patient satisfaction with the perioperative experience and the ultimate aesthetic outcome of BR. To this end, we will develop and pilot the use of a self-administered online tool (“RECONJOINT”) for breast reconstruction based on a conjoint analysis (CA) model. CA can help patients navigate complex decisions by determining the relative value that individuals place on various aspects of treatments to improve decision quality and reduce decisional conflict and regret. To accomplish this goal, we propose three aims: Aim 1: To utilize structured interviews to characterize patient and surgeon expectations of breast reconstruction; Aim 2: To develop the RECONJOINT shared decision-making tool to evaluate patient treatment preferences; Aim 3: To pilot the RECONJOINT tool in patients undergoing breast reconstruction. This proposal is innovative since it is the first effort towards using CA as a shared decision-making tool to align patient and provider expectations in the perioperative period of BR. Our central hypothesis is that RECONJOINT will improve patient expectations around breast reconstruction, improve high quality shared decision-making, and ultimately, improve patient-centered satisfaction. These findings will help secure extramural funding to support a larger clinical trial to assess the broader effects of utilizing RECONJOINT to improve patient satisfaction following breast reconstruction.

I am a plastic and reconstructive surgery resident with clinical interests in post-oncologic reconstruction and health services research. My long-term research goal is to improve patient care following post-oncologic reconstruction. I completed my medical degree at Duke University Medical School, at which time I dedicated two years to clinical and basic science research. As part of my research efforts, I worked closely with the breast cancer research outcomes group at Duke University. These efforts have produced 6 separate publications that were the result of a multi-disciplinary collaboration between reconstructive surgeons, breast surgeons, and breast oncologists. Furthermore, I have been involved in several clinical projects which mainly focus on evaluating patient outcomes following reconstructive surgery. To date, this has resulted in 28 manuscripts that have been accepted for publication. Importantly, I helped lead a recently published project which assessed treatment preferences for non-displaced scaphoid fractures utilizing conjoint analysis and discrete choice experiments. This has provided me with a basic skill set to design and successfully carry out projects utilizing conjoint analysis.