Part 2, Preparing for Transgender Surgery

A woman preparing for transgender surgeryThis post picks up where we left off in an earlier piece for those considering transgender surgery. We were discussing the important issues a person needs to consider well before scheduling their surgery. Among the important considerations is finding a reputable plastic surgeon whom you know and trust. A doctor who sets broken bones and stitches your wounds can certainly be considered a life saver. A surgeon who performs your gender transformation is a life changer, so having trust and confidence in them is foundational for a smooth transition.

Assuming you have met and selected an accomplished plastic surgeon to move forward with, there are several to-do items that need to be addressed before the big day. Following the checklist below will help ensure adequate preparation and optimal outcomes:

  • Schedule laser hair removal. If you are transitioning from a male to a female, remove hair from the scrotum. If you are transitioning from female to male and are having a phalloplasty, your surgeon will let you know which area will be used to create your penis. Use electrolysis or laser hair removal to remove the hair from this area. You will need to schedule multiple sessions for complete hair removal.
  • Stay in touch with your psychologist throughout the transition. Scheduling appointments in advance is an effective way to make sure you get ongoing support and regular contact with your psychologist throughout your transition.
  • Have a committed care taker in place for after surgery. You are going to need help for a day or two after your surgery, so make sure your support team is ready and there for you.
  • Request sufficient time off from work well in advance. Recovering from transgender surgery requires time and rest. Request at least one week off of work in order to give yourself time to recover. If you job is physically demanding, you may need to take more than one week off.

It’s hard to stress enough just how important mental, physical, and emotional preparation is prior to undergoing transgender surgery. With that in mind, there are practices that must be in play for at least a year before your transformation:

  • Live in/as your desired gender for a year. While you may be certain that surgery is for you, it’s important to live as your desired gender socially, spiritually and mentally prior to undergoing transgender surgery. If you’re completely comfortable being your desired gender without the physiological attributes, you’re likely to have a very smooth transition into the anatomically new you.
  • Be in good health. Exercise regularly and be as close as possible to your desired weight before your surgery. You won’t be able to exercise for a few weeks after the procedure, so make sure that you’re in great physical shape before going under the knife. You must also stop smoking at least three weeks before going through with transgender surgery.
  • Re-evaluate hormone therapy Talbott recommends that you try hormone therapy for at least a year before your transgender surgery. However, once your transgender surgery day has been scheduled, you should talk to your doctor about how your dosages may change before and after surgery. For example, you may be asked to pause your hormone treatments for four weeks prior to your procedure if you are transitioning from male to female. After the surgery, your dosage of estrogen will most likely be decreased.

Adequate consultation with several qualified plastic surgeons will help pave the way to a wonderful outcome. We recommend scheduling consultations with several plastic surgeons who have extensive transgender experience. Be open and honest about your goals, fears and concerns. This will help both of you evaluate whether you have a good fit.

Dr. LaDawn Talbott is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Reno, Nevada who enjoys working with transgender patients. Dr. Talbott’s experience, coupled with her support of the trans community make her a popular provider for transgender surgery.

Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Talbott.

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