Common questions to ask before opting for a gender changer surgery

Gender changer surgery is also known as Sex reassignment surgery (SRS), or Gender reassignment surgery (GRS) is the surgical procedure of altering the physical appearance and existing sexual characteristics of a transgender person to resemble those socially associated with their identified gender.

Gender changer surgery is a challenging procedure, but it gives people the chance to live their life in their desired gender. The decision for the process is very personal and should be made keeping in mind not only the benefits that will be achieved but also the risks associated with and after the procedure. There is a lot of questions on people’s minds regarding the surgery. In this article, we will discuss a few frequently asked questions regarding the surgery.

What does transitioning to another gender involve?

Transition to another gender may involve,

  • In taking sex hormones or/and surgically removing or modifying genitals or reproductive organs.
  • Without surgery, dressing and living in a gender role coherent with their gender identity without surgery.

Why does one consider undergoing surgery?

A number of transgender people experience a significant incongruence between the gender that they share and the gender that they are assigned. This has been identified as gender dysphoria by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Gender dysphoria causes individuals to experience significant impairment and upsets on social and personal levels. For such people, gender role changing, gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy allow their outside appearance to match how they feel internally.

 

What are the unavoidable steps that should be followed before the surgery?

Along with the addition to the detailed understanding of the procedure, hormones and risks involved, other few essential steps need to be accomplished before the surgery is performed.

  • Evaluation of mental health of the patient: The mental health evaluation of the person is necessary to look for any mental health issues that could influence the individual’s mental state and assess the person’s readiness to undergo not only the physical but also the emotional stress of the transition.
  • Clear documentation of gender dysphoria: The individual should be given consistent documentation of the procedure to ease them in.
  • A ‘real-life’ test: The person must take on the role of their desired sex in their everyday activities, both professionally and socially.

Is the surgery from male to female a painful procedure?

For a patient undergoing surgery to change from a male to a female include severe pain, bruising and discomfort for days. However, a female experiencing the female to male sexual reassignment is an even more complicated procedure, and the patient requires a more extended period to recover.

What happened during a male to female surgery?

During a male to female surgery, the testicles and significant part of the penis is removed. The urethra is cut shorter. Some of the skin of the individual is used to fashion a large and functional vagina. Even after the surgery, men retain their prostate glands. Parts of the penis can be used to create a ‘neoclitoris’ that allows the person to feel the sensation.

How much does a gender reassignment surgery cost?

The cost for a male to female transition surgery can be from anywhere between $7,000 to $24,000. At the same time, the price for a female to male reassignment is around $50,000. Each year around 100 to 500 gender reassignment procedures are performed in the United States.

 

 

 

How much time does a male to female surgery usually take?

In a male to female sex reassignment surgery, the skin of the scrotum is used to make the labia. The erectile tissue present in the penis is used to create a neoclitoris. The operation takes around 4 to 5 hours to provide aesthetic and functional female genitalia.

Is it safe to undergo gender reassignment surgery?

The procedure is a painful and challenging process which has a number of risks. The possible risks in a transfeminine Bottom surgery may include poor healing of incisions, bleeding, painful intercourse infections, hematoma, injury in the urinary tract, abnormal connections between the urethra and the skin, nerve injury, stenosis of the vagina, inadequate depth of the vagina and anaesthesia risk.

However, one should keep in mind these are not the only limited risks. It varies from the person and depends on how the individual’s body and mind are adapting to the changes.

 

What are the effects of testosterone on a female?

When a biological female starts taking in testosterone, the person undergoes or experiences a number of changes in their body. The changes include a simultaneous reduction in female sexual characteristics and an increase in male sexual characteristics.

The person experiences bodily changes like

  • Deeping of voice
  • Body and moustache growth
  • Increase in the number of body hairs
  • Enlargement of the clitoris
  • Development of acne, similar to male puberty
  • Fat from breast, hips and thighs redistributed to the abdominal area
  • Baldness or localization of hair seen mostly at the temple or the crown of the head.
  • Atrophy of uterus and ovaries, which in turn results inability to have children.

The person experiences behavioural changes that may include

  • An increase in sex drive
  • Increased aggression

What is the effect of estrogen on men?

When a biological male begins to take estrogen, there is a decrease in male sexual characteristics and an increase in female sexual parts.

The male experiences bodily changes like

  • Development of breasts
  • Loss of erection
  • Shrinkage of testicles
  • Decease in facial and body hairs.
  • Decreased acne
  • Softer and smoother skin
  • Slowed down balding
  • Redistribution of fat from the abdominal area to hips, thighs and buttocks.

The male experiences behavioural changes like

  • The decrease in sex drive
  • Increase in the number of mood swings.

When does a person notice the hormonal effects? 

The feminizing effect due to estrogen and the masculinizing effect for the testosterone may be showing in a person after a couple of doses. However, it may take a person years to be satisfactorily transitioned into their desired gender. This is mostly applicable for breast development.

What is the timeline of the surgical procedure?

As the surgery includes several risks, hence doctors take time in performing the surgery. The surgery is performed one year after the start of hormone therapy and two years after the first mental health evaluation. Once the surgical procedure is commenced, the amount of time until the completion of the process is variable, which depends on the number of desired methods, keeping in mind the recovery time and more.

 

 

 

What does the surgery from male to female transition involve? 

Often procedures involved in a gender affirmation surgery are broken down into those that occur above the belt (top surgery) and those that appear below the belt (Bottom surgery). Not everyone needs to undergo these procedures, but they may consider.

Top surgeries include:

  • Breast augmentation
  • Chin reduction. The female chin is often more delicate; chin reduction may be performed.
  • Voice change surgery
  • Male hair pattern removal
  • Creation of female hairline
  • Lips- A lip lift may be done.
  • An eyebrow lift may be done to feminine the position and curvature of the eyebrows Bottom surgery include:
  • Removal of the penis and scrotum
  • Creation of a labia and vagina (feminizing genitoplasty)

What does a female to male transition surgery involve? 

The female to male transition surgery involves both top surgery (above the belt) and bottom surgery (below the belt). The top surgery includes breast reduction surgery or subcutaneous mastectomy. The bottom surgery includes removal of the uterus and ovaries. Bottom surgery also provides for the creation of a penis and scrotum (masculinizing genitoplasty).

What is the period that it takes to transition from male to female?

Some of the physical changes after the procedure begin in a little as a month. However, it may approximately take as long as five years to see the significant effects. Hormone therapy does not only alter your appearance.

What can I expect as the quality of the after surgery life?

In has been widely observed that the quality of life has improved after the sexual affirmation surgery for both people who transition from male to female and those who transition from female to male. A study done in 2017 showed that surgical satisfaction ranged from 94% to 100%.

As the procedure has many steps and painful surgeries are associated with it, the number supports the benefit of the surgery for those who decide the process to be their best choice.

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