Androgynous person

Gender affirming surgery includes a wide variety of surgeries for those transitioning from male to female or female to male to help with gender dysphoria. There are many different types of surgeries that can be considered gender affirming surgery but they all have the goal of helping the patient affirm the gender they identify as and are transitioning to. These different surgeries help the patient look and feel more masculine or feminine and are greatly beneficial to the patient and their overall journey. 

Different surgery options include, but are not limited to:

  • Body contouring
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Breast augmentation
  • Buttock/hip enhancement
  • Rib reduction
  • Vaginoplasty
  • Phalloplasty
  • Masculinizing chest surgery
  • Facial feminization surgery
  • Voice surgery
  • Tracheal shave
  • Facial masculinization surgery

Knowing the benefits of surgery beforehand can greatly help patients make the right decision about whether to move forward with their desired surgery with peace of mind.

Below we’ll discuss five benefits of gender affirming surgeries and what patients can look forward to with life after. 

Long-Term Mental Health Benefits

Research shows that one of the main benefits of gender affirming surgery is the wide array of long-term mental health benefits patients experience. Some studies report that patients who underwent gender affirming surgeries experienced lower rates of psychological distress and suicidal ideation. Another study found that a person’s odds for needing mental health treatment declined by 8% each year after gender affirming surgery.

More and more studies showing the large number of mental health benefits patients are experiencing post-surgery confirm the importance of gender procedures as medically necessary treatments for transgender people.

Higher Quality of Life

Many transgender patients before undergoing gender affirming procedures are looking to have a higher quality of life living as their identifying gender and believe that gender affirming procedures will help provide that. As you might imagine, a higher quality of life is a benefit many patients experience after undergoing surgery. While hormone therapy can make a big difference in one’s transition journey, gender affirming procedures are essential for helping transgender people truly look and feel like themselves. 

One study measuring transgender patients’ overall quality of life post-surgery found that three-quarters of patients who underwent a gender affirming surgery have a better quality of life now.

Improved Sexuality

One main concern for transgender people is how their sexuality and experience will change throughout their transition journey. This is especially true for patients who desire to undergo any type of bottom surgery. Common concerns brought up by patients are their ability to experience sexual satisfaction after surgery. Fortunately, many studies have found that transgender patients have reported that they experienced higher levels of sexual satisfaction after gender surgery.

One study shows that over 75% of patients were able to achieve orgasm after surgery. Transgender patients have reported being able to reach orgasm more easily and experience more frequent sexual satisfaction than they had before surgery. 

Better Self Image

A number of pre-surgery transgender patients struggle with low self-image, self-esteem, and with positive body image because they don’t look and feel masculine or feminine enough. One of the benefits many patients hope to experience from surgery is feeling more confident in themselves and their gender. One study of transgender men showed that participants had lower self-esteem than cis-gender men and that a mastectomy improved their body image, self-esteem, and self-worth.

Improved Social Affirmation

While transgender people can make a lot of nonsurgical changes to more closely identify with their gender for themselves and to signal others, it can feel challenging for many to affirm their gender socially and feel accepted pre-gender affirming surgery. For some people, changing their pronouns, name, and clothing doesn’t feel like enough to fit in.

Gender affirming surgery allows a trans patient’s physical attributes to align more closely with their self-identified gender and appear as their self-identified gender to others as well. Not only do gender affirming surgeries help trans patients feel more socially accepted, but they also help patients feel more confident overall in public and social settings. 

The Bottom Line

As gender affirming surgeries are being studied more and more, the known benefits of life after surgery continue to grow. It’s clear that gender affirming surgeries are a necessity for overall quality of life for transgender people. While many patients have concerns before going through these big, life-changing procedures, knowing the benefits that lie ahead can be comforting. 

In addition to knowing the benefits, it’s also essential to undergo a consultation with a surgeon before making any final decisions. This ensures that you’re a good candidate for surgery and that you choose the best procedures to reach your desired outcome.

Ready to get started on your gender affirming surgery journey? Leif Rogers, MD, is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. To schedule a consultation, get in touch with our team today.

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