University of California San Francisco

Kim, Esther
Esther A. Kim, MD

Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Associate Program Director, Plastic Surgery Residency
Director, UCSF Gender Affirming Surgery
Co-Director, UCSF Microsurgery Fellowship

505 Parnassus Avenue, #593A
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Phone: 415-353-4288
Fax: 415-353-4330


    Dr. Esther Kim, a California native and alumna of UC Berkeley, where she majored in molecular cell biology, and UC Davis School of Medicine, stands as a distinguished member of our academic faculty. With an accomplished educational background, she completed her Plastic Surgery Residency at the prestigious Mayo Clinic and further honed her expertise through a Microsurgery fellowship at UCSF. Joining the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2013, Dr. Kim has emerged as a vital asset to our program.

    Specializing in microvascular complex reconstructive surgery, Dr. Esther Kim holds double board certification from the American Board of Surgery in general surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Her comprehensive scope of practice encompasses microvascular complex reconstruction, gender affirmation surgery, and cosmetic surgery. Dr. Kim's approach is rooted in achieving natural-looking cosmetic and reconstructive outcomes with meticulous attention to detail. Integrating technical excellence, an artistic eye, and compassionate care, she tailors her approach to each patient's unique needs and anatomical differences, striving for optimal outcomes.

    As an academic plastic surgeon, Dr. Kim perceives her role as not only providing exceptional patient care but also as an educator, inspirer, and empowerer. She is deeply committed to shaping the future of plastic surgery by actively engaging in the education and training of the next generation of surgeons. Dr. Kim contributes significantly to curriculum development, ensuring that evolving surgical techniques, advancements in the field, and a patient-centered approach are seamlessly integrated into the educational framework. Her dedication extends beyond the operating room, leaving an indelible mark on the growth and excellence of future surgeons under her mentorship. Her commitment also extends to research and publication endeavors focused on addressing healthcare disparities and enhancing the quality of life and surgical outcomes for her patients. Dr. Kim strives to strike a balance between a thriving professional career, meaningful service to her community, and serving as a positive role model for her three daughters, embodying the principles of excellence, compassion, and continuous learning in both her personal and professional spheres.

    In her leisure time, Dr. Kim finds joy in activities such as cooking, hiking, and traveling, adding a vibrant dimension to her multifaceted life beyond the operating room.

    Awards & Honors

    Award Conferred By Date
    Inquiry Short-Term Mentor Award UCSF 2023/2024
    Inquiry Long-Term Mentor of the Year Award UCSF 2023
    Muriel Steel Society Influential Women in Surgery Honor Roll UCSF 2022
    GME Excellence & Innovation Award UCSF 2021/2022
    Muriel Steel Society Influential Women In Surgery Honor Roll UCSF 2021


    Institution Degree Dept or School End Date
    University of California Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Traning 2022
    University of California, San Francisco Microsurgery Fellowship 2013
    Mayo Clinic Plastic Surgery Residency 2012
    University of California, Berkeley BA
    University of California, Davis MD

    Board Certifications

    American Board of Surgery, General Surgery
    American Board of Plastic Surgery 

    Clinical Expertise

    General Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

    Microvascular Breast Reconstruction

    Reconstructive Microsurgery

    Skin Cancer Reconstruction

    Cosmetic Surgery

    Eyelid Surgery


    Asian Blepharoplasty

    Botox and Fillers

    Breast Augmentation

    Facial Rejuvenation


    Gluteal Augmentation

    Post-Bariatric Body Contouring

    Gender Affirmation Surgery

    Non-surgical Cheek Lift


    Clinical Trials

    1. Related Conditions: Postoperative Hematoma, Postoperative Seroma| Start Date: | End Date:
    2. Related Conditions: Gender Dysphoria, Opioid Use, Postoperative Pain| Start Date: | End Date:

    Research Narrative

    Dr. Kim's research focuses on understanding coagulopathy in patients undergoing microvascular surgery. Her research aims to improve overall surgical outcomes and decrease complications in microvascular surgery. Her other interests include health care disparities and improvement in quality of life in surgical patients.

    Research Interests

    Coagulopathy in microvascular surgery

    Composite allograft tissue transfer

    Health Care Disparities

    Improvement in Quality of Life


    1. Paraspinous Muscle Flaps in Complex Pediatric Spine Surgeries: A 12-Year Single Institution Experience.
      Falade I, Park KM, Conkling N, Kim EA, Hansen SL, Hoffman W, Piper ML| | View in PubMed
    2. Perceptions of a virtual education platform: how plastic surgery education has progressed during the COVID-19 pandemic at one academic institution.
      Song S, Nguyen A, Rosser M, Steiner G, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    3. Double-incision mastectomy after reduction mammaplasty for persistent gender dysphoria: a case report.
      Song S, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    4. The Effect of Pectoral Nerve Blocks on Opioid Use and Postoperative Pain in Masculinizing Mastectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
      Wallace AB, Song S, Yeh P, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    5. Developing Gender-Affirming Surgery Curricula for Plastic Surgery Residency and Fellowship via Delphi Consensus.
      Song S, Park KM, Parmeshwar N, Dugi D, Schechter L, Berli JU, Kim EA, GAS Research Group| | View in PubMed
    6. Microfluidics-free single-cell genomics with templated emulsification.
      Clark IC, Fontanez KM, Meltzer RH, Xue Y, Hayford C, May-Zhang A, D'Amato C, Osman A, Zhang JQ, Hettige P, Ishibashi JSA, Delley CL, Weisgerber DW, Replogle JM, Jost M, Phong KT, Kennedy VE, Peretz CAC, Kim EA, Song S, Karlon W, Weissman JS, Smith CC, Gartner ZJ, Abate AR| | View in PubMed
    7. Morphometric Analysis of Gender-affirming Breast Augmentation.
      Song S, Parmeshwar N, Steiner G, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    8. Evaluating the Quality and Reliability of Gender-affirming Surgery Videos on YouTube and TikTok.
      Song S, Park KM, Phong K, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    9. A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Techniques for Management of Postoperative Lymphatic Leaks After Groin Surgery.
      Song S, Parmeshwar N, Steiner G, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    10. The Incidence of Breast Cancer After Gender-Affirming Mastectomy in Transmen.
      Parmeshwar N, Song S, Alcon A, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    11. Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphatic Complications of the Groin Following Open Lower Extremity Revascularization with Plastic Surgery Closure.
      Wallace AB, Kim EA, Holland M, Lee S, Orringer M, Piper ML, Hansen SL| | View in PubMed
    12. A Dual-Surgeon Approach to Breast Cancer Surgery in a Transmale.
      Parmeshwar N, Alcon A, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    13. Reply: Regret after Gender-affirmation Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence.
      Escandón JM, Bustos VP, Bustos SS, Mascaro A, Del Corral G, Ciudad P, Kim EA, Langstein HN, Manrique OJ| | View in PubMed
    14. The Breast Response to Estrogenic Stimulation in Transwomen Classification: Evaluation of Breast Response to Estrogenic Stimulation in Transwomen.
      Alcon A, Wang E, Oliver-Allen H, Srinivasa D, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    15. Prophylactic Muscle Flaps in Primary Vascular Procedures of the Groin.
      Wallace AB, Piper ML, Holland M, Lee S, Orringer M, Eichler C, Kim EA, Hansen SL| | View in PubMed
    16. Evaluation of Dual-port versus Single-port Tissue Expanders in Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction.
      Parmeshwar N, Piper M, Viner J, Foster R, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    17. A Technique for Optimizing Symmetry in Gender-affirming Mastectomy.
      Nguyen A, Alcon A, Parmeshwar N, Rogine C, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    18. Rotational Thromboelastometry Derivative Fibrinogen-Platelet Ratio Predicts Thrombosis in Microsurgery.
      Patel H, Srinivasa DR, Volod O, Wang ED, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    19. A Systematic Review of the Utility of Indocyanine Angiography in Autologous Breast Reconstruction.
      Parmeshwar N, Sultan SM, Kim EA, Piper ML| | View in PubMed
    20. Quantifying the Psychosocial Benefits of Masculinizing Mastectomy in Trans Male Patients with Patient-Reported Outcomes: The University of California, San Francisco, Gender Quality of Life Survey.
      Alcon A, Kennedy A, Wang E, Piper M, Loeliger K, Admassu N, Lentz R, Kim EA| | View in PubMed
    21. Nipple-areola complex reconstruction in transgender patients undergoing mastectomy with free nipple grafts: a systematic review of techniques and outcomes.
      Bustos SS, Kuruoglu D, Yan M, Bustos VP, Forte AJ, Ciudad P, Kim EA, Del Corral GA, Manrique OJ| | View in PubMed
    22. Preventing Recurrence in Clean and Contaminated Hernias Using Biologic Versus Synthetic Mesh in Ventral Hernia Repair: The PRICE Randomized Clinical Trial.
      Harris HW, Primus F, Young C, Carter JT, Lin M, Mukhtar RA, Yeh B, Allen IE, Freise C, Kim E, Sbitany H, Young DM, Hansen S| | View in PubMed
    23. Systematic review of fertility preservation options in transgender patients: a guide for plastic surgeons.
      Yan M, Bustos SS, Kuruoglu D, Ciudad P, Forte AJ, Kim EA, Del Corral G, Manrique OJ| | View in PubMed
    24. Building a Multidisciplinary Academic Surgical Gender-affirmation Program: Lessons Learned.
      Manrique OJ, Bustos SS, Bustos VP, Mascaro AA, Ciudad P, Forte AJ, Del Corral G, Kim EA, Langstein HN| | View in PubMed
    25. Regret after Gender-affirmation Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence.
      Bustos VP, Bustos SS, Mascaro A, Del Corral G, Forte AJ, Ciudad P, Kim EA, Langstein HN, Manrique OJ| | View in PubMed
    26. Transgender and Gender-nonbinary Patient Satisfaction after Transmasculine Chest Surgery.
      Bustos VP, Bustos SS, Mascaro A, Del Corral G, Forte AJ, Ciudad P, Kim EA, Langstein HN, Manrique OJ| | View in PubMed
    27. Regulatory T cells use arginase 2 to enhance their metabolic fitness in tissues.
      Lowe MM, Boothby I, Clancy S, Ahn RS, Liao W, Nguyen DN, Schumann K, Marson A, Mahuron KM, Kingsbury GA, Liu Z, Munoz Sandoval P, Rodriguez RS, Pauli ML, Taravati K, Arron ST, Neuhaus IM, Harris HW, Kim EA, Shin US, Krummel MF, Daud A, Scharschmidt TC, Rosenblum MD| | View in PubMed
    28. Trainee Exposure and Education for Minimally Invasive Gender-Affirming Procedures.
      Buhalog B, Peebles JK, Mansh M, Kim EA, Knott PD, Hoffman W, Seth R, Alcon A, Arron ST| | View in PubMed
    29. A20 and ABIN1 Suppression of a Keratinocyte Inflammatory Program with a Shared Single-Cell Expression Signature in Diverse Human Rashes.
      Harirchian P, Lee J, Hilz S, Sedgewick AJ, Perez White BE, Kesling MJ, Mully T, Golovato J, Gray M, Mauro TM, Purdom E, Kim EA, Sbitany H, Bhutani T, Vaske CJ, Benz SC, Cho RJ, Cheng JB| | View in PubMed
    30. Transcriptional Programming of Normal and Inflamed Human Epidermis at Single-Cell Resolution.
      Cheng JB, Sedgewick AJ, Finnegan AI, Harirchian P, Lee J, Kwon S, Fassett MS, Golovato J, Gray M, Ghadially R, Liao W, Perez White BE, Mauro TM, Mully T, Kim EA, Sbitany H, Neuhaus IM, Grekin RC, Yu SS, Gray JW, Purdom E, Paus R, Vaske CJ, Benz SC, Song JS, Cho RJ| | View in PubMed
    31. High-Yield Purification, Preservation, and Serial Transplantation of Human Satellite Cells.
      Garcia SM, Tamaki S, Lee S, Wong A, Jose A, Dreux J, Kouklis G, Sbitany H, Seth R, Knott PD, Heaton C, Ryan WR, Kim EA, Hansen SL, Hoffman WY, Pomerantz JH| | View in PubMed
    32. Skin-infiltrating, interleukin-22-producing T cells differentiate pediatric psoriasis from adult psoriasis.
      Cordoro KM, Hitraya-Low M, Taravati K, Sandoval PM, Kim E, Sugarman J, Pauli ML, Liao W, Rosenblum MD| | View in PubMed
    33. Primary pleural epithelioid hemangioendothelioma.
      Kim EA, Lele SM, Lackner RP| | View in PubMed
    34. Identification of a novel aspartic-like protease differentially expressed in human breast cancer cell lines.
      Xin H, Stephans JC, Duan X, Harrowe G, Kim E, Grieshammer U, Kingsley C, Giese K| | View in PubMed
    35. Cloning and characterization of T-cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis 2 (TIAM2), a novel guanine nucleotide exchange factor related to TIAM1.
      Chiu CY, Leng S, Martin KA, Kim E, Gorman S, Duhl DM| | View in PubMed
    36. The cloning and developmental expression of unconventional myosin IXA (MYO9A) a gene in the Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS4) region at chromosome 15q22-q23.
      Gorman SW, Haider NB, Grieshammer U, Swiderski RE, Kim E, Welch JW, Searby C, Leng S, Carmi R, Sheffield VC, Duhl DM| | View in PubMed