The Current State of Gender-Affirming Surgery Training in Plastic Surgery Residency Programs as Reported by Residency Program Directors

The purpose of this Web-based survey was to elucidate the current perspectives of plastic surgery residency program directors on training residents to perform gender-affirming surgery.
Web-based surveys were distributed to 79 plastic surgery program directors. Demographic information and perspectives on training of gender-affirming surgery in plastic surgery residency were queried.
Of 79 distributed surveys, there were 43 responses (54 percent). Overall, program directors reported that their trainees were prepared to address plastic surgery–related transgender concerns (67 percent), and believe plastic surgeons are the most appropriate specialty referral for each type of gender-affirming surgery (top/chest, 98 percent; facial, 95 percent; and bottom/genital, 79 percent). Ninety-three percent of program directors noted that transgender surgery is becoming more accepted and/or practiced in their referral area, with 26 percent reporting a dedicated clinic experience. There was a mixed response on the need for additional fellowship training for gender-affirming surgery. Residents are exposed to significantly more bottom (p = 0.0018), top (p = 0.0013), and facial operations (p = 0.00005) if they rotate through a “gender” clinic.
Of the queried program directors, the majority feel their residents are well-trained in gender-affirming surgery. However, residents have more clinical exposure in facial and top (chest) gender-affirming surgery as compared to bottom (genital) surgery. Although most program directors agree that plastic surgeons are the most important referral for top, bottom, and facial operations, there is less consensus over the role of fellowship training. Most program directors reported a desire to devote additional CME time to the topic in the coming years.

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