• 04 February 2016
Gender Transformation

We probably all know at least one person who suffers from gender dysphoria, or someone who identifies themselves as the opposite gender. On top of logistical things like a name change, acceptance, and a wardrobe adjustment, physical attributes can hold one back from truly identifying with the correct gender.

More and more people are seeking surgical assistance while they make the transformation from male to female or vice versa. There are multiple surgeries involved in this process so we commonly group them together as gender transformation surgeries.

Male-to-Female

If you fall into this category, there are some obvious physical characteristics that you may want to change. These include things like breast augmentation and genital transformation (also called a vaginoplasty). These are usually the first surgeries that come to mind when a male identifies themselves as a female. However, there are a few other things that should also be considered.

  • Hormone therapy
    • While not a surgical procedure or something that is managed by a plastic surgeon, it is still a very important step in the process. Without inhibiting the production of male hormones like testosterone, muscle will continue growing in places that women do not develop significant muscle. Hair will continue growing in places women do no grow hair. Hormone therapy is generally one of the first steps in gender transformation and is a priority. Establishing this prior to surgical intervention is important.
  • Facial reconstruction
    • We are quick to think about breasts in transformation - of course, if you want to be a woman, you need to have breasts! While this is true, many facial features can be feminized as well. Facial feminization can include procedures to adjust the brow line, lips, cheek bones, and adam’s apple.

Female-to-Male

Again, hormone therapy is a crucial part of the gender transformation for female-to-male clients. Depending on the age of the patient, medical professionals will determine if it is best to supplement with testosterone, and/or to suppress the production of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Consultation with a medical doctor will determine the best method for you.

  • Breast Reduction
    • During this type of breast reduction, all of the breast tissue is removed. The excess tissue that surrounds the breasts needs to be removed as well in order to increase definition of the chest muscles. This process may require a couple different surgeries and take some time. Many patients also choose to have reconstruction of the areola. This part of the process can typically be completed with a local anesthetic in an outpatient setting.
  • Phalloplasty
    • This process requires a complicated surgery which calls for as overall healthy client. The surgery may require donor tissue from another area of the body in order to form flaps in the genital region. The most difficult part of this process is attempting to reconnect nerves, and blood flow in order to maintain sensation.

Regardless of what kind of transformation you are considering, there are a couple key points to keep in mind:

  • Some of these procedures can be extensive and require good overall health. These means that preexisting conditions must be stable and consistently monitored by your primary care provider.
  • Patients must be at a healthy weight. A body mass index of 35 or less is required prior to an operation.
  • Recovery varies for everyone, but most surgeons suggest preparing for an 8-10 week recovery period.
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