University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday–Friday | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Answering Your FAQs About Preparing for Gender Affirmation Surgery

Transgender woman learning about the next steps of transgender surgery

Gender affirmation surgery is an often life-changing way to feel more at home in your skin. Like any surgical procedure, however, transgender surgery does involve some downtime, and it’s important that you know what to expect during the recovery process.

Preparing mentally and physically can make all the difference when it comes to your recuperation. In this blog post, we’re answering a few common questions about getting ready for MTF or FTM surgery, from where to find support to how long you’ll need to take off work or school.

Q: What can I do before surgery to set myself up for a successful recovery?

A: Along with eating a healthy diet, staying active, and quitting nicotine use, a few prep steps worth taking include:

  • Enlist the help of a trusted friend, family member, or professional care provider. You’ll need a ride home or to an overnight care facility after your surgery, as well as someone to help with caring for kids and pets for the first few weeks.
  • Consider fertility preservation if desired. Your future family plans are highly personal. If you do want to have biological children, however, you should know that you have options for doing so, even after bottom surgery, with services such as sperm banking and egg freezing.
  • Review the WPATH standards of care. We follow these guidelines for all transgender care we provide. You can review the guide to understand which standards of care you can expect during your journey.

Q: Where can I find a community of other people who have undergone gender affirmation surgery?

A: One of the best ways you can emotionally prepare for gender-affirming surgery is to connect with other people who have been through the same thing. Online groups make it possible to meet people from around the world and hear from them first-hand about their decisions to have transgender surgery done, what they experienced during surgical recovery, and how the procedure affected their lives.

One resource you might find helpful is “Transgender Lives: Your Stories,” an interactive campaign created by the New York Times. In it, transgender individuals share their experiences discovering and affirming their identities, which often involves surgery.

If you’re curious about the kinds of results you can expect, you can see real examples in our top surgery before-and-after photo gallery.

Q: How long will I need off work or school to recover from gender affirmation surgery?

A: Recovery time varies quite a bit depending on whether you are opting for top surgery, bottom surgery, facial surgery, or a combination. Your plastic surgeon will have an in-depth discussion with you about what your journey may look like. Most people are able to gradually return to their usual activities within 6 weeks, but your timeline may vary. You can learn a bit more about recovery times in this blog post.

If you have other questions about preparing for transgender surgery not answered here, please get in touch by requesting a consultation or calling (434) 924-1234. We’re happy to help!

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