Gender affirming surgery is a deeply personal part of a transgender or non-binary person’s journey, and a significant step in helping them feel comfortable in their bodies. Our board-certified plastic surgeons have been honored to perform gender affirmation body contouring procedures for patients from Houston, TX, the Woodlands, and throughout Texas.
- What is Gender Affirming Surgery?
- Why Choose My Houston Surgeons for Body Affirming Surgery?
- Who is a Candidate for Body Affirming Surgery?
- Preparing for Body Affirming Surgery
- Male to Female (MTF) Gender Affirming Top Surgery
- Female to Male (FTM) Gender Affirming Top Surgery
- Recovery After Body Affirming Surgery
- Gender Affirming Surgery FAQs
What is Gender Affirming Surgery?
Gender affirming surgery, also known as gender confirmation surgery, gender reassignment surgery or transgender surgery, is a vital component of medical care for individuals seeking to align their physical appearance with their gender identity. As plastic surgeons specializing in this field of body contouring, we understand the significance of these procedures in promoting the well-being and happiness of our patients.
Gender affirming surgery encompasses a range of procedures that are tailored to the specific needs and goals of each individual. These surgeries are designed to help individuals transition to their identified gender, providing them with a body that aligns more closely with their authentic sense of self. For transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse individuals, gender affirming surgery can be an essential step in their journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
The decision to undergo gender affirming surgery is deeply personal and often follows extensive self-exploration and therapy. As compassionate and understanding plastic surgeons, we prioritize open and empathetic communication with our patients. It is essential to establish trust and ensure that they are well-informed about the procedures, potential risks, and expected outcomes.
At the core of gender affirming surgery is the commitment to helping individuals live authentically and comfortably in their bodies. We strictly adhere to the guidelines and standard of care established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), and have pursued continuing education to ensure we are caring for our transgender patients in the most positive and affirming manner possible. By providing specialized care, expertise, and compassion, we strive to empower our patients to embrace their true selves and embark on a path of self-love.
Who is a Candidate for Body Affirming Surgery?
Candidates for gender affirming surgery are individuals who experience gender dysphoria or discomfort with their assigned sex at birth and seek to align their physical body with their gender identity. Gender dysphoria refers to the Trusted Source Gender dysphoria Mayo Clinic Go to Source distress or discomfort that arises from the mismatch between one’s gender identity and their physical characteristics.
It’s essential to note that each person’s journey is unique, and not all transgender, non-binary, or gender diverse individuals will pursue gender affirming surgery. The decision to undergo surgery depends on various factors, including an individual’s gender identity, overall health, emotional readiness, and support system.
Ultimately, the decision to pursue gender affirming surgery is deeply personal and should be made in collaboration with healthcare professionals who specialize in transgender healthcare. It is our privilege to assist our patients in their path towards living authentically and comfortably in their bodies.
Candidates for body affirming surgery typically undergo a thorough evaluation process, which may include:
- Psychological Assessment: Mental health professionals, such as therapists or psychologists experienced in working with gender diverse individuals, may conduct an evaluation to ensure that the person is emotionally prepared for surgery and has realistic expectations.
- Hormone Therapy: Some individuals may undergo hormone therapy as part of their gender transition before considering surgery. Hormone therapy can help induce changes in the body that align with the person’s gender identity.
- Living in Desired Gender Role: Many surgeons require candidates to live in their desired gender role for a certain period before surgery to ensure they are committed to their transition and have a stable sense of identity.
- Physical Health Evaluation: A comprehensive medical evaluation is essential to assess the candidate’s overall health and determine if they are physically suitable for surgery.
- Informed Consent: Candidates should be well-informed about the surgical procedures, potential risks, benefits, and expected outcomes. Informed consent is a crucial aspect of gender affirming surgery, ensuring that individuals make autonomous and well-considered decisions.
Male to Female (MTF) Gender Affirming Top Surgery
Male to female (MTF) top surgery, also known as feminizing top surgery or breast augmentation surgery, is a gender affirming surgical procedure designed to create a more feminine chest appearance for transgender women and individuals assigned male at birth. This procedure is a crucial step for many MTF individuals seeking to align their physical body with their gender identity.
The primary goal of MTF top surgery is to augment and contour the breast mound and create a more feminine contour of the chest by augmenting the breast volume. The surgery typically involves the following steps:
Breast Augmentation: In order to achieve a more feminine chest appearance, the plastic and reconstructive surgeon will perform breast augmentation using breast implants to enhance the breast size and shape. The type and size of the implants will be chosen based on the patient’s desired outcome, body proportions, and surgeon’s expertise.
Nipple Repositioning: The nipples are often repositioned to create a more natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance on the new breast mound.
Areola Resizing: If necessary, the size of the areolas (the pigmented area surrounding the nipples) may be adjusted to better match the new breast size and shape.
Incision Placement: Incisions are usually inframammary or in some cases, an incision is made around the areola.
MTF top surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and the surgery duration varies depending on the complexity of the procedure and individual patient needs.
Breast Tissue Removal: If the patient has significant breast tissue development, the surgeon will excise it to create a flatter chest contour. This step may vary depending on the amount of existing breast tissue.
Mastectomy: The plastic and reconstructive surgeon will perform a mastectomy, which involves the removal of breast tissue, excess skin, and sometimes repositioning the nipples to create a more masculine chest appearance. Liposuction may also be performed to further sculpt the chest for a more masculine appearance. The extent of breast tissue removal will vary based on the patient’s existing chest size and desired outcome.
Nipple Repositioning: The nipples are often resized and repositioned to match the new chest contour. This step is essential to achieve a more natural and masculine appearance.
Areola Resizing: If needed, the size of the areolas (the pigmented area surrounding the nipples) may be adjusted to better match the new chest size and shape.
Recovery After Body Affirming Surgery
The specifics of recovery after body affirming surgery can vary based on the individual, the surgical technique used, and the patient’s overall health.
Patients who undergo MTF or FTM top surgery can expect to experience some swelling and discomfort in the first few weeks following their surgical procedure. Our plastic surgeons will prescribe pain medication to help them manage any discomfort. If drains were placed during surgery, they are typically removed during the first week after surgery.
Patients will be instructed to restrict their activities and avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for several weeks following their body affirming surgery. Our surgeons conduct a series of regular follow-up visits to monitor patients’ healing and address any concerns that may arise during the recovery period. Most patients are able to get back to work within a few weeks of their gender affirming top surgery.
Is top surgery covered by insurance?
In recent years, understanding of the benefits of transgender health care has dramatically increased and some health insurance providers may offer coverage for gender affirmation surgery. However, coverage varies from provider to provider and may be contingent on specific requirements such as a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, letters of support from healthcare providers or mental health professionals, and specific criteria for plastic surgeons.
What are the risks of body affirming surgery?
Any surgical procedure is associated with some risk and complications, and the best way to achieve a favorable outcome is to work with an experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon. Risks of gender affirming surgery may include:
- Suboptimal scarring
- Breast implant complications such as capsular contracture and Trusted Source What are the risks of transfeminine top surgery? American Society of Plastic Surgeons Go to Source implant leak
- Changes to Trusted Source What are the risks of transmasculine top surgery? American Society of Plastic Surgeons Go to Source nipple sensation
That said, our transgender patients feel that any risks of gender surgery pale in comparison to the many benefits, including a stronger sense of self, improved self-esteem and mental health, and an overall improvement in quality of life.
Can you have gender affirming surgery at any age?
As a general rule, the age of medical consent is 18. Currently in the state of Texas, gender affirming surgery can only be performed on those over the age of 18.
1 Mayo Clinic. Gender dysphoria. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gender-dysphoria/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20475262. Accessed August 1, 2023.
2 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of transfeminine top surgery? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/transfeminine-top-surgery/safety. Accessed August 1, 2023.
3 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of transmasculine top surgery? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/reconstructive-procedures/transmasculine-top-surgery/safety. Accessed August 1, 2023.
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As plastic surgeons specializing in gender affirming care, we prioritize open communication with our patients, ensuring that they feel heard, supported, and respected throughout the evaluation process and beyond. Our goal is to empower individuals to make informed choices about their bodies and provide them with the highest quality of patient care during their cosmetic surgery journey. If you are interested in learning more about body affirming surgery performed in Houston and The Woodlands, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced cosmetic surgeon.