Securing research grant funds in cosmetic surgery has become easier, thanks to the efforts of the discipline's professional societies to establish the kind of solid evidence bases which undergird other medical specialties. Most recently, the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation (CSF), the educational and research arm of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), announced that six studies will benefit from the foundation's second year of funding. In early 2007, the CSF grant program awarded three research grants totaling $40,000. This year, the foundation increased funding to more than $81,000.
Recipients this year include Raymond Doublas, M.D., Dustin Michael Heringer, M.D., David M. Morrow, M.D., Michael Rosenberg, M.D., Bryan S. Siers, M.D., Ph.D., and Emily P. Tierney, M.D.
The foundation's objective is to support original research efforts designed to advance the art and science of cosmetic surgery and patient safety, according to the grant application. "It is vital...that we provide resources that not only advance the specialty, but arm investigators and clinicians with scientific and evidence-based outcomes," says Craig M. Sondalle, CSF executive director.
So far, Dr. Rosenberg and co-researchers Danielle DeLuca-Pytell, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon, and Kathryn Spanknabel, M.D., a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast surgery, have launched the patient resource-rich Web site
"One of the things that we found...is that [implant] patients...often do not seek any particular follow-up," says Dr. Rosenberg. "In fact, a number of [our study] patients...do not even remember who their surgeon was." He and his colleagues are continuing to accrue patients to the study and are currently looking retrospectively at more than 300 breast implant patients — studying their outcomes, care (including follow-up studies) and problems. The researchers are also well into the prospective arm of their study — a breast implant follow-up schedule that includes radiographic and long-term care.
"Right now, the data is not clear about what the best way to follow these women is," Dr. Rosenberg says. "The FDA has come up with guidelines, and they need to be evaluated. It's studies like this that will allow us to generate real rather than anecdotal information."