What is transgender surgery?

Transgender surgery (also known as sex reassignment surgery) is a surgical procedure by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of their identified gender.

There are two main reasons why transgender surgery is considered:

· New born babies with intersex deformities must early on be assigned to one sex or the other. These deformities represent intermediate stages between the primordial female genitals and the change into male genitals caused by male hormone stimulation.

· Both men and women may believe that they are a physically different gender than they are mentally and emotionally. This dissonance is so profound that they are willing to be surgically altered.

In both cases, technical considerations favour successful conversion to a female rather than a male. New born babies with ambiguous organs will almost always be assigned to the female gender unless the penis is at least an inch long. Whatever their chromosomes, they are much more likely to be socially well adjusted as females, even if they cannot have children.

Male to Female

Converting the male anatomy to the female anatomy required the removal of the penis and the reshaping of the genital tissue. This is done through an incision made into the scrotum, and the pulling back of the flap of skin to remove the testicles. A shorter urethra is cut and the penis is removed. The excess skin is then used to create the labia and the vagina.

After surgery, oestrogen will be administered to stimulate breast development, widen the hips, inhibit the growth of facial hair and increase the voice pitch.

Female to Male

Female to male surgery has achieved less success, due to the difficulty with creating a functioning penis from clitoral tissue in the female genitals. With this procedure, the uterus and ovaries are removed and genital reconstructive procedures are used.

The breasts would need to be surgically altered so that it looks less feminine. This involves the removal of the breast tissue and excess skin, and the reduction and repositioning of the nipples and areolae. Androgens are then administered to stimulate the development of facial and chest hair, as well as cause the voice to deepen.

What are the risks of transgender surgery?

While transgender surgery poses no life-threatening risks, there are always concerns about things going wrong with this procedure.

The possible risks are:
  • · Bleeding after surgery
  • · Wound contamination or infections (largely due to uncleaned bowels during the operation)
  • · Vaginal shortening or narrowing or collapse after surgery
It is recommended that you avoid the following for two weeks before your surgery:
  • · Aspirin
  • · Blood thinner medication
  • · Non-steroidal-anti-inflammation drug
  • · Vitamin E
  • · Antidepressants