Gender Surgery in Melbourne
Gender reassignment surgery, also known as gender affirmation, gender confirmation surgery, sex reassignment surgery, or transgender surgery is now offered in Melbourne by Specialist Plastic Surgeon and Gender Surgery expert Dr Patrick Briggs.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria refers to the condition where an individual feels their psychological and emotional identity does not match their birth gender. Even though it can cause serious emotional pain, distress and anxiety, gender dysphoria is not a mental illness.
However, that’s not to say it does not affect your mental health. Stress that builds as a result of feeling different, homophobic or transphobic attitudes from others and trauma for bullies or alienation from family and friends can all contribute to a decline in mental health.
In 2007 Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society published ‘Tranznation: A report on the health and well being of sex and gender diverse (Trans) gender people in Australia and New Zealand’ the publication shared the following statistics;
- Nearly one in five (18.6%) had experienced a physical attack or other kinds of violence
- A large majority of trans people (87.4 %) had experienced at least one form of stigma or discrimination
- Over half (53.4%) reported verbal abuse
- One third (33.6%) had received threats of violence or intimidation
What is Gender Affirmation / Gender Reassignment Surgery?
Gender Affirmation Surgery refers to life-changing surgical procedures in which a surgeon changes a patient’s physical and sexual characteristics. It is commonly chosen by transgender males, females and Non-binary individuals. It is often used to help treat gender dysphoria.
There are several different Gender affirmation Surgeries, including
As the name suggests, top surgery refers to the surgical procedure done on the top part of the body, i.e. chest or breasts.
- FTM (Female to Male) Top surgery removes the breast tissue from the chest to make the chest look more masculine.
- While MTF (Male to Female) Top surgery is a breast reconstruction procedure that uses breast implants to help enhance feminine breast features.
- Male to Female Top Surgery (breast augmentation mammoplasty)
- Facial feminisation surgery
- Female to Male Top Surgery (chest masculinisation surgery)
- Hysterectomy or chest sculpting with implants
Male to Female (MTF) or Male to Nonbinary (MTN) Top Surgery
This surgery involves the implantation of saline or silicone implants to increase an individuals chest size and contour the shape to achieve a more feminine appearance.
Transgender Breast Augmentation/feminizing breast surgery/breast mammoplasty are all alternative names for this procedure.
Female to Male (FTM) or Female to Nonbinary (FTN) Transgender Top Surgery
This procedure is a reconstructive surgical procedure that involves the removal and contouring of breast/chest tissue to create a flat, more masculine appearance. Alternative names for this procedure include both masculinising chest surgery and/or subcutaneous mastectomy. The procedure can help treat gender dysphoria.
Hormone therapy is another part of the Gender affirmation/confirmation process. Whether transitioning from;
- Male to female (MTF) or nonbinary (MTN)
- Or, female to male (FTM) or nonbinary (FTN).
Hormone therapy commonly includes either;
Testosterone helps to suppress feminizing characteristics and induce masculine features, often used when an individual is transitioning from FTM or FTN.
Estrogen helps to enhance feminizing characteristics, it is often combined with antiandrogens to suppress masculine features. This is commonly used when an individual is transitioning from MTF or MTN.
While not all transgender individuals choose to undergo hormone therapy, it can be medically necessary for those who wish to physically transition. In other words, you could potentially claim some of the costs thru medicare.
Hormone therapy is not a necessity before top surgery. However, in some transgender men/nonbinary individuals, hormone therapy can help increase breast tissue before breast augmentation. While hormone therapy pre-surgery can help give the individual a better outcome post-surgery it is not a necessity. Doctors will often test patients hormone levels before surgery to ensure they are within the targeted range.
Your Patient Journey for Top Surgery
Before you undergo top surgery, you will need to have a thorough consultation with your surgeon to fulfil certain prerequisites. Your doctor will screen and diagnose your mental and physical health status and ask if you have any medical comorbidities (Comorbidity is defined as the co-occurrence of mental and physical disorders within the same person, regardless of the chronological order in which they occurred or the causal pathway linking them). Your consult will also include:
- An evaluation of both your personal and family medical history
- A general physical examination that includes;
- Reproductive system assessment
- Cardiac system assessment
- Respiratory system assessment
- And, gastrointestinal system assessment.
- Various lab investigations of your blood, urine, or X rays.
Along with physical assessment, your doctor will also require a mental health examination. That will include;
- Your gender identity and dysphoria.
- How your gender identity has made an effect on your school, home, office, and all your friends and family.
- As well as, mood issues
Consent for Reassignment Surgery
After discussing all the risks, complications and conditions with your doctor, you must give informed consent that includes:
- Risks and benefits
- Alternative method
- Social and legal implications
- And irreversibility of the procedure
If you are nervous or unsure of the procedure, you can always talk with fellow transgender people who have undergone similar procedures. You may also want to take your time deciding if the surgery is the right choice for you.
Recovery and Results
After the surgery, your surgeon will wrap and compress your chest and must stay this way for several weeks. Drains are kept under the site where your breast tissue was removed. The function of the drains is to remove fluid or blood that accumulates after surgery. Some additional precautions you must take after the procedure include:
- Sleeping with your body/torso elevated for a few weeks after the surgery.
- Take everything your doctor tells you about recovery seriously
- Follow their instructions to the letter
- Avoid heavy chest exercises for 2 to 3 months post-surgery.
- Be aware that you may need additional surgery to improve your chest size or shape.
- If you choose, follow up your surgery with further hormone replacement therapy.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Gender Reassignment Surgery
Is gender reassignment surgery painful?
- You will be under general anaesthesia for your surgery. In other words, you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. However, it is a highly complex surgery and some discomfort during recovery is normal.
How do you pay for gender reassignment surgery?
- FTM Top Surgery may be covered by Medicare and Private Health if you meet the strict criteria.
- Since your insurance may not always cover gender surgery, there are a variety of options to help you pay for surgery. For example;
- Personal loan
- Credit cards
- Medical Finance and Payment plans
- Family loan
- Crowdfunding and fundraising
Is gender reassignment surgery considered cosmetic?
- Unfortunately, even though gender reassignment surgery is done to help manage gender dysphoria, it is considered cosmetic, it is only deemed medically necessary if it meets certain conditions.
What is the youngest age you can have gender surgery?
- If you are over 16 years of age and you get legal approval you can undergo Gender affirmation surgery.
Do you get scars after FTM or MTF top surgery?
- Yes, both MTF and FTM surgery results in some degree of scarring. But scars will gradually fade and flatten over time. Most patients have felt their final results are well worth the scars in the beginning
How do I know which type of top surgery is best for me?
- Your surgeon will give you the best professional advice before the procedure. The procedure depends upon your chest size, shape, skin elasticity, your preferences for nipple and areola size and placements
Do I need to take testosterone before I get FTM top surgery?
- You do not need testosterone therapy before FTM top surgery. But the testosterone will help develop chest muscle and body hair. While this can improve the aesthetic surgery results, it is not necessary.
How long does the top surgery take?
- It depends on the procedure and the surgeon. Generally speaking, it may take between 1 hour and 3 hours.
Can breasts grow back after top surgery?
- Although a little tissue is left behind to maintain the contour of the chest, 95% of the tissue is removed so, breast tissue will not grow back
Will I need multiple surgeries for the top surgery?
- Most patients only require a single surgery however <5% will have to undergo additional revisionary surgery which is usually a very minimal procedure.
When can I resume my daily work activities after top surgery?
- You can leave the hospital the next day after surgery but you can only resume your office job after 2 to 3 weeks.
- We also recommend avoiding heavy chest work for 2 to 3 months.
Choosing the Best Surgeon for Gender Surgery in Australia
There are huge differences between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons concerning their education, training, qualifications, operating rights and more.
Dr Patrick Briggs is a highly knowledgeable plastic surgery expert and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Ireland). He is a member of ISAPS, ASAPS and ASPS, all of which are protected medical titles and ensure a certain (minimum) level of expertise and experience. Moreover, he is a specialist plastic surgeon that is qualified to operate in accredited hospitals around Australia.
Why Choose Dr Patrick Briggs – Specialist Plastic Surgeon?
Dr Patrick Briggs is a highly skilled and well-trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon with experience in all fields of plastic and cosmetic surgery. Furthermore, he has been working in the field of cosmetic and plastic surgery for over 20 years and specialised in breast procedures. He performs surgeries with extreme precision and up-to-date approaches. Book a consultation now to begin your journey.