Choosing to undergo transgender surgery is a very personal, life-altering decision. Patients often report long-term mental health benefits and reduced gender dysphoria distress after the procedure. However, like any surgery, you should head into treatment with clear knowledge and expectations. If you’re considering transgender surgery here in Virginia or beyond, here are a few important facts you should know.
What Is Transgender Surgery?
Transgender surgery (also known as gender affirming surgery) is a procedure that alters a person’s appearance to better resemble their identified gender. There are a variety of procedures that can sculpt and shape the body to create a more feminine or masculine look.
Different procedures can be combined in various ways to provide flattering, natural-looking results. The team at UVA Plastic Surgery is proud to be one of the pioneers in the field of transgender surgery and offers the latest in gender-confirming care.
Top surgery addresses the upper half of the body with a focus on contouring the chest. It typically involves either breast augmentation or breast reduction procedures.
- Chest feminization: Silicone implants are placed to create larger, more feminine breasts. Fat grafting is routinely used to enhance the look and feel of the results.
- Chest masculinization: Breast tissue is permanently removed to create a firmer, flatter chest. Most often this is removed directly with a double incision approach, but sometimes may be done with liposuction alone. The areolas are often resized and repositioned for a more masculine appearance.
Bottom surgery transforms the genitals to match an individual’s gender identity using advanced reconstructive techniques. Every genital procedure is specifically tailored to each person’s goals and identity.
- Feminizing Genital Surgery: Used to create the most aesthetically pleasing vulva and functional vagina possible. Scrotal and penile tissue is converted into vulva and may also be used to construct a vaginal canal if receptive intercourse is desired. Full depth vaginoplasties are routinely performed with peritoneal flaps and robot-assisted dissection.
Masculinizing Genital Surgery: Phalloplasty uses tissue from either the forearm or the thigh to create a new phallus and urethra in two to three stages. Metoidioplasty converts an enlarged clitoris into a phallus in a single procedure. Vaginectomy, urethral lengthening, glansplasty, and scrotoplasty are performed during the second stage of phalloplasty, but are often performed in a single stage with metoidioplasty. Hysterectomy is typically performed prior to these procedures.
Facial surgery can sculpt your face into a more feminine or masculine appearance. The procedure is highly customizable depending on your unique aesthetic goals.
- Facial Feminization: Creates a softer, more rounded appearance via hairline modification, rhinoplasty, jawline reshaping, and other treatment options.
- Facial Masculinization: Forms a well-defined chin and angular features with carefully placed implants and Adam’s apple enhancement.
How Do I Prepare for Gender Confirmation Surgery?
Many providers will require that you gather the proper paperwork before scheduling your gender affirmation procedures. We follow WPATH surgical guidelines and those requirements must be fulfilled prior to scheduling your appointment. If you need assistance with this process, we are more than happy to provide personalized help and resources to guide you through the process.
You should continue taking any hormone replacement therapy as prescribed throughout the process. Surgery will not be offered to individuals who are actively smoking, vaping, or using or tobacco of any kind as it significantly increases your risk of surgical complications. If you need help quitting, please let us know and we can assist you. Refrain from taking aspirin products for at least two weeks before your surgery, and be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet with good sources of protein.
How Long Is Recovery After Transgender Surgery?
Your recovery time depends on the surgery (or combination of surgeries) you had performed. Cheek and nose treatments may present swelling for 2 to 4 weeks, while chin and jaw procedures may have soreness for a few months.
Top surgery patients will experience swelling and soreness for at least 1 to 2 weeks and should avoid high-impact activities during this time. Bottom surgery patients may need 4 to 6 weeks before resuming their usual activities.
How Much Does Transgender Surgery Cost?
The price of transgender surgery in Virginia depends on the procedure you’re having performed. Bottom surgeries, for example, can cost around $25,000 to $75,000, whereas top surgeries may range from $7,000 to $15,000. During your initial consultation, your doctor will be able to give you a customized price estimate for your surgery.
Does Insurance Cover Transgender Surgery?
In May 2021, the Biden administration prohibited discrimination against transgender people in healthcare. Since then, more employer insurance policies, including those sold under the Affordable Care Act, now often cover at least some gender-affirming procedures. A medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria is typically required for insurance coverage. Talk with your doctor and insurance provider to learn more about your transgender surgery funding options.
Our experienced team is proud to offer transgender surgery options to patients from Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and beyond. We understand that this process is deeply personal, and we’re dedicated to staying by your side every step of the way.
To meet with our UVA doctors and discuss your cosmetic surgery options in the greater Richmond, VA, area, please request a consultation online. You can also contact our practice by phone at (434) 924-1234 to learn more.
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