If you’re transgender, you may pursue hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery to help align your body with your gender identity. Some transgender individuals also choose to pursue surgery to help reduce or enhance secondary sexual characteristics. For transgender men, this may include surgery to reduce breast size or remove the ovaries. Transgender women may elect for breast augmentation or facial feminization surgery to meet their needs. At MedStar Health, we offer the following procedures to help you be comfortable in your own skin. Types of gender reassignment surgery:
- Feminizing vaginoplasty: Reconstructive surgery procedure that alters the structure of the genitals to create a vagina using penile or colon tissue. Dr. Del Corral uses a one-stage procedure, revisions can be necessary to enhance the final surgical result.
- Revision Vaginoplasty (after loss of depth): A secondary procedure allowing for revisions to the urethra, neovaginal canal, labia minora and majora addressing asymmetries within the vagina, and scar revisions to help functionality. Medstar Center for Gender Affirmation specializes in revisional procedures after complications from primary vaginoplasty.
- Colon vaginoplasty: A different approach to an original vaginoplasty. The colon or small bowel can be used to line the vaginal wall to create depth, dilation, and providing a natural source of lubrication. At the Medstar Center for Gender Affirmation, we use a robotic-assisted approach to minimize incisions in the abdomen, faster recovery while providing better access for the revision.
- Masculinizing phalloplasty/scrotoplasty: Reconstructive surgery that creates a penis using a free flap or pedicled flap of skin. These sections of the skin can be taken from the arm (radial forearm free-flap, RFF) or thigh (anterior lateral thigh pedicled flap phalloplasty, ALT). These procedures are performed in a combined team that include reconstructive urologist and plastic surgeons.
- Metoidioplasty: The use of local tissue to create an enlargement to the penile area (clitoral release/enlargement, may include urethral lengthening).
- Masculinizing chest surgery (“top” surgery): Breast tissue is removed and the nipples and areolae are altered to help masculinize the chest
- Facial feminization: Reconstructive surgery procedures that alters the shape and size of facial features to make them closer to typical female facial features—this may include a brow lift, forehead re-contouring, hairline correction, and rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
- Facial masculinization: Reconstructive surgery that alters the shape and size of facial features to make them more masculine—this may include forehead lengthening and augmentation, cheek augmentation, chin re-contouring, jaw contouring, thyroid cartilage enhancement (Adam’s apple surgery), and rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
- Reduction thyrochondroplasty (thyroid cartilage shave): Reconstructive surgery that reduces the size of the thyroid cartilage, also known as the ‘Adam’s apple’. It is shaved down to create a more feminine appearance.
- Breast augmentation mammoplasty: Surgery to reshape, enlarge, and modify the breasts and achieve a more desired shape and look to the chest.
- Hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surrounding structures
- Orchiectomy: Reconstructive surgery to remove the testicles.
- Vaginectomy: Reconstructive surgery to remove all parts of the vagina.
Gender Surgery Planning and Recovery
What to Expect
You may need to meet a few requirements before qualifying for certain gender affirming procedure(s) at MedStar Health. The exact requirements will depend on your insurance coverage and may include one or more letters of referral from qualified mental health professionals, well-documented gender dysphoria and/or one year of continuous hormone therapy. Procedures that are considered strictly cosmetic by your insurance plan will have fewer requirements.
After properly qualifying for surgery, you’ll meet with one of our surgeons. They will examine you and ask questions to determine if you physically qualify for surgery. If you qualify, you’ll discuss any risks and potential complications and walk through the steps involved. You’ll be given specific instructions to follow prior to your surgery.
On the day of surgery, your surgeon may use a variety of leading-edge techniques to achieve the best results, such as minimally invasive surgery to significantly reduce scarring.
Recovery from Surgery
It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions for proper care of your body after surgery. You may have specific directions about taking medications and how to clean and care for the surgical site. Healing may take several weeks as swelling decreases.
Why Choose Us?
MedStar Health is the largest health care system in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region. When you choose us for care, you’ll have access to our network of 10 hospitals and a team of more than 3,000 physicians and specialists.
If you choose MedStar Health for a breast augmentation or reduction procedure, you’ll be choosing to work with a nationally recognized leader in breast surgeries. Our breast surgeons have years of experience working exclusively in breast procedures and have developed their own techniques to help patients recover faster and have better results.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re exploring options for insurance coverage, you may need to request a referral from your primary care doctor, depending on your health insurance plan. Check with your carrier to see if medical coverage is an option for you and, if so, whether a referral is required.
Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications—this may include temporarily stopping hormone therapy. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and avoid possible complications. You’ll also need to arrange for transportation to and from the hospital and for someone to stay with you the night after the surgery.