Feminizing surgery is a surgical procedure done to align appearance with one’s gender identity. It encompasses various procedures, including orchiectomy (removing testicles), breast augmentation (increasing breast size) and vaginoplasty (creating or “tightening up” a vagina). Feminizing surgery also involves facial and body contouring or sculpting to better-fit one’s gender identity.
This challenging surgery, also known as gender-affirming surgery, carries significant risks and complications. It also needs follow-up care and after-surgery medications. Although it is believed to treat gender dysphoria, it may require assistance from behavioral health providers in the initial days after the surgery.
Why is Feminizing Surgery done?
Feminizing surgery often improves the self-image and self-esteem of transgender women. However, not all transgender women are qualified for this surgery. You might decide to have feminizing surgery in any of the following cases-
- If you have gender dysphoria– a mental health condition caused by a misalignment between the gender designated at birth with the gender you identify yourself with.
- If you have poor mental health or low self-esteem due to gender discrimination or some other trauma affecting your quality of life.
- If you want to alter your physical appearance to live in peace with your original gender identity.
Feminizing surgeries are usually performed in adulthood. So, if you are in your teens, the procedure may be delayed till you become an adult.
Feminizing Surgery Procedure
Before the Surgery:
Your doctor will guide you through the details and procedure of the surgery.
- Your doctor might request you to take multiple tests to evaluate your physical and mental eligibility for the surgery.
- Your surgeon will need your family’s medical health history.
- Your doctor will request you to take age and sex screening tests.
- The doctor will also need detailed reports about your immunity.
- The evaluation will also examine your habits, including smoking, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and substance abuse.
During the surgery:
There are different procedures of feminizing surgery, and each procedure involves different processes.
Feminizing surgery typically includes the following options:
- Orchiectomy- a surgical procedure of removing testicles
- Vaginoplasty- surgical removal of body parts like testicles, scrotum, penis or creation of the organs and body parts like the vaginal canal, genitalia and labia
- Penectomy- surgical procedure to remove the penis
- Clitoroplasty- creation of clitoris
- Labiaplasty-creation of labia
- Breast enlargement- fat transplantation or placing tissue expanders from other parts of the body on the breasts
- Facial feminization surgery- softens the masculine features of the face by using cosmetic or surgical alteration of facial features
- Forehead contouring- reduces the brow bone prominence
- Hairline alterations- reduce male-like baldness or plugged pattern of hair
- Nose job- softens nose bone and contours it to make it look more feminine
- Cheek augmentation- makes cheeks look more feminine through fillers, synthetic hormones or cheek implants
- Lip lift- shortens the distance between the upper and lower lip
- Genioplasty-surgical re-orientation (augmentation or reduction) of the chin
- Body contouring procedures: They are used to enhance the body shape by reducing masculine features and include the following-
- Abdominoplasty- a cosmetic procedure to remove excess fat and skin in your abdomen region to reposition it and enhance the shape
- Gluteal/ buttock augmentation- fat removal, butt lift and butt implants to enhance the glute shape
- Liposuction-a cosmetic surgery used to remove fat in hip, thighs, and belly areas
- Tracheal shave- the surgical removal of thyroid cartilage
- Scalp hair transplant- collects hair follicles from the back and side of the scalp and transplants them near the balded regions for regrowth of hair
- Laser hair removal- simple out-patient surgery employed to remove hair follicles and reduce the hair growth in unwanted areas
- Voice feminization therapy- raises voice pitch (surgical procedure) and improves intonation, pitch and vocal characteristics (non-surgical, therapeutic)
After the surgery:
Self-care is crucial after the surgery. Depending on the progress of your health condition, your doctor will prescribe hospitalization for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Follow the medications without fail to reduce pain and to quickly improve your health.
- Keep in touch with your surgical team and stay updated on your health condition.
- After proper recovery, you may have to consult behavioral health doctors to adjust to new changes both physically and mentally.
- Seroma: fluid accumulation beneath the skin
- Swelling and inflammation at the site of surgery
- Blood clotting
- Adverse reactions to anaesthesia and other medicines
- Tissue necrosis or accumulation of dead body tissues in the vaginal area
- Blood clot in lungs or pulmonary embolism.
- Deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in veins
- Urinary infections
- Permanent scars
- Behavioral health issues due to sudden change or difficulty in adapting to the new gender traits
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.
Feminizing surgery is complex and challenging and has various consequences. Certain types of feminizing surgery can harm or end your fertility. If your surgery involves reproductive organs but you want to have biological children after the surgery, discuss with your doctor at the earliest and take necessary steps. Finally, do your research, introspect and weigh all factors before deciding to go for the surgery. Always keep in touch with your surgical team and follow their suggestions carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- How to know if I am eligible for feminizing surgery?
Your doctor will prescribe numerous tests to examine your fitness for this surgery. They include skin tests, blood tests, and other physical fitness tests to check. Doctors also suggest mental health examinations to make sure that you are physically and mentally eligible for the surgery.
- What happens if my surgery fails?
Your surgeons take utmost care during and after the surgery to make the surgery successful. In case the surgery fails, your doctors will evaluate your condition and weigh other options. They will either suggest surgery one more time or alternatives based on suitability.
- How long does the surgery take?
The duration of the surgery depends on the complexity of the procedure. It may vary from 10 to 18 hours.
- Can I shower after the surgery?
No, you cannot shower in the days immediately following your surgery. You have to wait for your first post-surgery appointment. However, you can sponge bath without letting the water touch the operated areas.
After the first post-surgery appointment, you can shower. But make sure you don’t use scented and heavy lathering soaps on the operated area for some weeks.