What is Gender Affirmation surgery?
It is a procedure for transgender and gender non-conforming patients to provide them with physical attributes and functional abilities of the gender they identify as. This procedure involves several steps or surgeries. One of the major surgeries is the Top Surgery (Feminising or Masculinising). There are other important steps of changing gender; such as hormone therapy, bottom surgery and facial reconstruction. Here are some details
Top surgery can be of two types – Masculinising or Feminising: MTF/N & FTM/N – Male to female, female to male. The MTF top surgery includes placement of implants under the chest muscle and corrections of the chest contour. The female to male (FTM) top surgery involves removing breast tissue and glands and alteration of the chest to make it appear more masculine. Some patients elect to undergo top surgery after hormone therapy which then is followed by other gender surgeries.
Trans Facial reconstructive surgery
Facial reconstructive surgeries are undertaken to give a transgender person a more masculine or feminine appearance. The facial muscles, cheek fat, chin and jaw, lips, Adam’s apple, nose etc. are reconstructed to alter your appearance. Hormone therapy may assist many of these transformations and there is a range of facial surgeries available.
Bottom Surgery – Not Offered by Dr Hunt’s Clinic
There is a wide range of Bottom surgeries but it is not available at Dr Hunt’s clinic. We can recommend another plastic surgeon for bottom surgery.
Hormone therapy – Not Offered by Dr Hunt’s Clinic
Hormone therapy is part of the gender affirmation process for transgender people where the hormones associated with their chosen gender are injected to bring about changes controlled by the hormones (more/less hair, skin thickness, breasts, muscle mass, voice etc.)
Hormone therapy gives optimal results when coupled with gender affirmation procedures. Hormone therapy is usually recommended for patients who would like to have top surgery to assist in superior results of the surgery and a more natural outcome.
Are you a Suitable Candidate for GAS?
Anyone wanting to change their gender is a candidate for gender affirmation procedures. However, as these are major surgeries, Dr Hunt needs to ensure you are completely supported and healthy before he can consider you for surgery. Hence, to get gender affirmation surgeries you need to fulfil certain conditions:
- You are older than 18 and able to consent
- You are mentally and physically healthy
- You are making an informed decision
- You have no severe systemic disorder
- You are not allergic to the materials used in the reconstruction
- You are a non-smoker
- You do not have any serious heart, kidney or other organ disease that may affect the surgery
- You have taken hormone therapy. Usually a 10/ 12 month hormone therapy is required
- If you have gender dysphoria or you are suffering from gender identity disorder you can be a good candidate
- Body weight is a major health issue. Your BMI should be below obesity, to avoid any unwanted complications during surgery
- You will need WPATH certification and psychological support
About Gender Affirmation Surgery
Gender affirmation surgery is a complex process. The surgical details involve altering several muscle attachments, skin and tissue contour. While the fine details of the procedure should be discussed with Dr Hunt during the consultation, most other details stay the same. Here are some facts you will want to know about gender affirmation surgery:
- Gender Surgery is done under general anaesthesia; which means you will be asleep throughout the surgery. This is also why you need to be healthy to get gender affirmation surgery.
- To get general anaesthesia your blood pressure, heart condition and overall health condition needs to be ideal or close to it. Even so, the surgery takes only a few hours.
- Top surgery can take about 2-3 hours.
- After this time you will be taken to the post-op room to recover; which will take about a few hours. Given there are no complications, you can be out of the hospital in a single day or two.
More about the surgery
To prepare for the gender affirming procedures, you will need to quit smoking or alcohol for at least a month or so. Medications like aspirin or other anticoagulants will be stopped prior to surgery as well. As a preparation for surgery, Dr Hunt may also ask you to stop other medications for two or three days.
- Surgery Length: The MTF or FTM top surgery can take 1 to two hours.
- Recovery: The recovery process for Top surgery is mostly about letting your upper body rest. Which involves you resting your arms, torso and restricting movements as much as you can. Even though you can go home after the top surgery, have someone drive you home and stay with you for a few days. You will feel some soreness after bottom and facial reconstruction surgeries as well.
- Recovering from gender affirmation procedures can be more difficult than other interventions because of the toll it takes on your mind as well as your body. You will need time to adjust to the newness of your body. So, expect some discomfort. You should also talk to your therapist about the challenges you are facing.
The first few days of the recovery period are often associated with a certain level of pain and discomfort as the anaesthesia wears off. You will most likely be prescribed some antibiotics and analgesic medication; make sure you take them on time. To speed up the recovery process, wear the support bra given to you after the surgery. You should also avoid showering or getting water on the stitches until the dressing is removed. Another thing to remember is to prevent any tearing or stretching of the suture sites. Tearing the stitches can lead to large scar tissue. This means you cannot lift heavy objects for 1-2 months either.
- Back to work/ exercise: Regardless of which gender affirmation surgery you are taking, you will need some time to heal. To get back to exercising, you will need to wait at least 2 months. The best course of action here is to take cues from your body and let your body decide when you are ready to work out. As for work, you can join your office within a few weeks of the surgery, but don’t overdo it!
- Results: Results are a huge concern for most patients. The results of gender affirmation procedures may not look similar to what you had in mind immediately after surgery. But this is only because of the swelling. After a few weeks you will notice the swelling has subsided and everything looks more natural. It takes about 2- 3 weeks for all the inflammation to go away completely. You can speed up the process by applying cold packs.
Gender Surgery options
There are options for gender surgery. For MTF top surgery, you can choose different Implant types. There are many decisions to be made with Facial Masculinisation and Facial Feminisation Surgeries.
What to Expect
Hormone therapy, WPATH documentation, counselling support etc. are important for the gender surgery process.
After you have booked your consultation, you will meet with Dr Hunt who will then discuss the procedure with you and give you some tests. Based on which you can book your surgery and get pre op checks to make sure you are ready for surgery. After the surgery, you will need to come in again for post-op check-ups.
Patient Results for Gender Affirmation Surgery
The outcomes shown are only relevant for this patient and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
Gender Surgery Cost Sydney – How much is gender affirmation surgery in Sydney?
You might be wondering just how much it is going to cost to get the gender affirmation surgery in Sydney.
Well, it depends on the surgeon, the implants used, technique and your insurance. Depending on whether Medicare or your health fund will cover some of the surgery, the cost could vary greatly. Please enquire with Dr Hunt’s team.
Considering Gender Affirmation Surgery?
How old do you have to be to change your gender?
Usually a person needs to be of legal age or over 18 to get these procedures.
Is gender reassignment surgery painful?
You will be under general anaesthesia the whole time of the procedure. After the intervention is performed, Dr Hunt will prescribe analgesics to help alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Do I need to stop smoking?
Yes. You need to be a non-smoker or stop smoking beforehand to be eligible for the surgery.
Will I get scars?
Scars occur after all surgical interventions.
What are Risks and Complications of Gender Affirmation Surgery?
All surgery has risks. Most of the risks associated with gender surgery will be discussed with Dr Hunt during consultation. Visit the surgery risks page for more information.
Further Reading & Medical Sources
Here are some helpful articles
- ASPS Page on Gender Confirmation Surgeries
- Gender Confirmation Surgery: A New Frontier in Plastic Surgery Education – Schechter, Loren S. M.D.; Cohen, Mimis M.D.
PLASTIC SURGEON SYDNEY
About Dr Jeremy Hunt
Dr Hunt has worked with thousands of patients across his 20-year career. This is reflected in his role as Spokesperson for the ASPS – Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. Dr Hunt is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and Supervisor of Plastic Surgery Training at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Dr Hunt has a strong interest in helping his patients achieve their desired results by employing the most appropriate practices for each individual patient.
PLASTIC SURGEON SYDNEY
Dr Maryam Seyedabadi
Dr Maryam Seyedabadi has recently joined Dr Hunt’s practice in Edgecliff and is now available for consultations on a range of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery for breast, body and face.
She is just one of the very few dually qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons, completing both medical and dental degrees. This gives her a unique skillset and ability for face surgery, orthognathic & jaw surgery.
As a Sydney Female Plastic Surgeon, Dr Maryam offers surgery by women for women. She is supported in clinic & theatre by a completely female surgical team for those who prefer being operated on in a women-only or more female-friendly private hospital environment.