The Plastic Surgery Foundation
Log In Donate Now

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.

The Influence of Acellular Dermal Matrix On Peri-Prosthetic Breast Niche

Principal Investigator
Ruth Tevlin MD


Stanford University

Funding Mechanism
Research Fellowship

Focus Area
Wounds / Scar, Tissue Engineering

Project Summary: Implant-based breast reconstruction is the most common reconstructive modality following mastectomy in the United States. A scar, called a capsule, forms around the implant and can become very tight leading to a painful, visible deformity (called ‘capsular contracture'). This affects 1 to 4 in 10 patients undergoing implant-based breast reconstruction and can lead to many revision surgeries in a patient's life time. The mechanism for this troubling complication is not understood. It has been suggested that this thickened, circumferential scar is stimulated by scar-forming cells called fibroblasts that are known to be present within the capsule around the breast implant. Various strategies have been employed to attempt to reduce the risk of capsular contracture. Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) is a biological mesh that can be obtained from human and animal skin which undergoes a multi-step process to remove all of the immunogenic cells that can lead to tissue rejection. ADM is now used in approximately 75% of all implant based breast reconstruction and research has shown that it is protective against scar formation surrounding prostheses. The plastic surgery community do not understand how that happens. Does ADM protect against scar formation by blocking cells from migrating into the area or does the remaining dermal architecture interact with the cells in the environment? Our previous research has demonstrated that ADM presence leads to thinner scar capsules surrounding implants and that there are less scar forming cells present in the scar around ADM in comparison to native tissue. The goal of our project is to better understand how ADM has a protective effect against capsular contracture. By isolating the specific scar forming and immune cells in the scar tissue formed around breast implants in our patients undergoing breast reconstruction and comparing the cellular activity in the presence or absence of ADM, we will better understand how to protect our patients from scar contracture with the hope of reducing the need for future surgeries. Better still, if we can understand how ADM works to protect against capsular contracture, we can design efficient therapies that are more powerful in reducing scar tissue formation and that do not require costly ADM placement. We will do sophisticated cellular, genetic and histological analysis to reach our goal collaborating with expert scientists and surgeons at Stanford University. Impact Statement: Implant based reconstruction is the most common breast reconstruction modality in the USA (72.6% of all reconstructions) and acellular dermal matrix (ADM, a biologic mesh) is used in over 75% of cases. ADM is reported to reduce scar formation (so-called “capsular contracture”) around breast implants and resultant revision surgeries. ADM is associated with a high economic burden compared to traditional techniques. How does ADM presence reduce the body's reaction to a foreign body? This study will further elucidate the mechanism by which ADM acts on the breast capsule. By understanding this mechanism better, we can potentially avoid the use of ADM, its economic cost and associated complications by developing new adjuncts for breast reconstruction.

Dr. Ruth Tevlin is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Hagey Laboratory for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Longaker. Dr. Tevlin is a surgical trainee from Ireland, who completed her medical education in University College Dublin. She commenced surgical training with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2011 and was awarded Membership of the Royal College or Surgeons in Ireland in 2013. Since joining the Longaker laboratory, Dr. Tevlin has been investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms of osseous fracture healing, with a particular focus on the role of stem and progenitor cells in bone tissue regeneration following injury.