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.

Qualitative Evaluation of Goals and Expectations for Gender Affirming Surgery

Principal Investigator
Katherine Gast MD


University of Wisconsin

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Economic Analysis/Quality/Outcome, General Reconstructive

Project Summary: Gender Dysphoria affects 1.4 million people worldwide and can have far-reaching effects on patient's health. Adults with gender dysphoria are at increased risk for stress, isolation, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance use. A study of 6,450 patients with gender dysphoria indicated 41% of individuals had attempted suicide compared to a national average of 1.6%. Gender dysphoria is particularly prevalent in the transgender population. Treatment often includes gender transitioning which can be accomplished through hormone therapy and gender affirming surgery. Multiple studies have shown that gender affirming surgery (GAS) can alleviate social anxiety, but minimal research exists that examines patient goals and reported outcomes with respect to sexual, psychological, and overall well-being. This project aims to address the deficiency in research pertaining to transgender patients' goals for gender affirming surgery and the effect it has on their health and quality of life. We will use pre-and post-operative open-ended interviews conducted by experts in qualitative methodology to gather information with respect to our specific study aims. We will utilize ongoing coding to identify broad categories, relationships amongst these categories, and encompassing themes in order to create a model explaining patient's expectations from GAS. By utilizing an open-ended approach to data acquisition, we can capture information that would otherwise be missed with surveys or questionnaires. Impact Statement: This research has a significant public health impact given that it seeks to better understand a marginalized community with inferior health outcomes. The proposed research will characterize why patients choose to have GAS, their goals for surgery, and how surgery has impacted their health. As healthcare policy evolves surrounding the transgender community, it is important to characterize the impact and role of GAS as a treatment modality. This research will provide valuable insight for both patients and providers to understand the benefits and limitations of gender affirming surgery as a treatment for gender dysphoria. We plan to use our findings from this study to develop validated and standardized patient reported outcomes measures for the transgender patient population.

Katherine Gast, MD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She also serves as the Department Medical Director for the UW Health Comprehensive Gender Services Program. Dr. Gast graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 2010 during which time she also received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She completed her Plastic Surgery Residency at the University of Michigan in 2016 and completed a Subspecialty Fellowship in Gender Affirming Surgery and Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction at the University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium. Dr. Gast’s clinical expertise includes gender affirming surgery (vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, breast augmentation, and mastectomy) and autologous microsurgical breast reconstruction (DIEP flaps). She also performs a wide range of adult reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Her research interests include patient reported outcomes in gender affirming surgery.