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The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation

Update: ASERF Exposed Print

Update: ASERF Exposed
Steven Teitelbaum, MD

The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation has been chugging along for 20 years now, but a recent member survey suggests that we haven’t been doing a good job keeping you in the loop on our activities, and many members don’t know what we actually do. That’s about to change.

ASERF has a significant corpus and invites any board certified plastic surgeon to apply for an ASERF grant. I pledge to do a better job of informing you of research opportunities and letting you know on a regular basis what is going on with studies in progress.

Our work over the past several years has had a seminal effect on how we approach procedures, view clinical complication and contribute to the armamentarium of aesthetic surgeons.

One grant that had a demonstrable impact on our work was awarded last year to Dr. Marshall Kadin at Boston University. This funding directly led to the publication in ASJ of Biomarkers Provide Clues to Early Events in the Pathogenesis of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. This study by Dr. Kadin changed our understanding on the precursor cells that are responsible for this disease. The research is ongoing and now funds a collaboration between Boston University, McQuarie University, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, and has made recent headway into understanding how BIA-ALCL interacts with the body.

Outside of this work, ASAPS and ASPS released a joint statement on BIA-ALCL diagnosis and treatment recommendations in June. This treatment algorithm has subsequently been adopted by plastic surgery societies in Canada, UK, Sweden, South Africa, and Australia.

My friend and colleague Mark Clemens, MD, has been asked to be a co-author for the official recommendation to all oncologists worldwide that is called the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He confirms that the ASAPS/ASPS algorithm forms the basis for NCCN guidelines to be released Spring 2017. And personally attests that the efforts of ASERF had significantly progressed our understanding of the disease and defined how we diagnose and treat this rare condition.

Not all ASERF work involves awarding of grants; some of our work is done in traditional committees and task forces similar to ones found in ASAPS. Recently, after several disturbing reports in the media, we formed the Gluteal Fat Grafting Task Force to learn more about morbidities and mortalities that may occur with the highly popular procedure.

The Task Force is Chaired by Mark Mofid, MD and includes members from both the United states and abroad. They include: Denis C. Astarita, MD; Lazaro Cardenas Camarena, MD; Sydney Coleman, MD; Ashkan Ghavami, MD; Constantino Mendieta, MD; Arturo Ramirez-Montanana, MD; Moises Salama, MD; Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, MD; Daniel Suissa, MD and myself. The data is still being readied for submission to the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. An advisory on its findings has been sent to all members of ASERF and ASAPS.

These are just a couple of recent examples of how we help you improve patient safety and give every member an opportunity to participate in clinical research: not always available for those of us in solo practice. ASERF is, to my knowledge, the only purely aesthetic research organization out there where 100 percent of your donations go directly to research, not to administrative or other fees.

If you’re looking for funding, please visit

We strongly encourage your ideas and suggestions for research projects that will make our specialty stronger and give our patients a safer experience and outstanding outcome.


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