Preparing for Transgender or Gender Affirmation Surgery. Ask your Surgeon Lots of Questions!
Your transgender surgery is a life changing decision and it requires careful consideration. While you’ve likely mentally prepared for this journey and envisioned your outcomes, it’s crucial to be well-prepared with the right questions for your gender affirmation surgeon.
Asking the right questions will give you the tools and information you need to make informed decisions about your surgical path.
10 Best Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
During your initial gender affirmation surgeon consultation, you should come prepared with the following list of questions to make sure your consultation is successful.
1. What are your qualifications?
While it might appear obvious, it’s important to acknowledge the variations in surgeons’ qualifications and specialised areas. For transgender surgery, make sure that your doctor is a specialist plastic surgeon with extensive experience treating transgender patients and performing the surgery.
Questions like “How many years of transgender surgery experience do you have?” and “What specific training do you have in MTF transgender surgery techniques?” is a great place to start.
2. Am I a suitable candidate for the procedure?
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for transgender surgery. Whether or not you are a suitable candidate will depend on the specific procedure you’re hoping to schedule.
Your chosen gender affirmation surgeon will walk you through the different treatments they offer, including alternative procedures that may be a better fit. Breast augmentation for MTF patients is extremely common.
It’s smart to research the procedure(s) you’re interested in before your consultation. But remember that your surgeon will ultimately give you their professional recommendation based on which procedure will provide you with the results.
3. What can I do to make sure I get results?
The best way to ensure you get the results is by closely following your surgeon’s instructions. During your consultation, ask your surgeon about ways to do this or decrease the risk of complications.
Although there are things you can do before any surgery to reduce risks (eg. quit smoking), every procedure is different. A Gender reassignment surgeon will be able to tell you exactly how to prepare for your treatment.
4. Where and how will you perform my procedure?
Plastic surgery treatment facilities can vary tremendously. If your surgery requires significant recovery time, you may need to stay at the facility for a few days.
During your consultation, your surgeon will go through the procedures they offer that could give you the results you want.
Ask them to explain how each procedure is performed and make sure you understand the process. Learning more about your treatment will help you feel more prepared.
5. Which surgical technique do you recommend?
There are several different techniques used for MTF gender confirmation surgery. For breast augmentations, there are both saline and silicone implants to choose from and various methods to place the implants. Each choice has its pros and cons. It’s important to understand your options before making a final decision.
Although the list of options may seem overwhelming at first, a good surgeon with gender affirmation surgery experience will be able to walk you through the decision-making process and help you make the choice for your body. It’s best to ask for their professional opinion and which surgical technique they recommend.
6. What are the risks and complications?
Every surgery has the potential risk of complications. Ask your surgeon about the most common risks and complications associated with your procedure. They will likely provide you with a list of steps you can take to mitigate risks and prevent complications both during and after surgery.
7. Do you have before and after photos for this procedure, and what results can I expect?
It is essential to make sure the procedure you choose will be able to deliver the results you’re hoping for. Request before and after photos of past patients to get an idea of the results you can expect. The basics of each procedure are the same, so pictures will typically look very similar, no matter which surgeon you choose. However, every surgeon has their own style and level of expertise. Look at each picture carefully, so you understand how the procedure will change your body.
8. What are my pre-op and post-op instructions?
As we previously discussed, the best way to ensure you get the results you want is to follow your surgeon’s instructions. Your surgeon will provide you with a detailed list of pre-op and post-op instructions to ensure your treatment goes as smoothly as possible. Each procedure will have its own list of instructions. Ask your surgeon for the instructions well in advance so that you have time to prepare.
Typical pre-op instructions include completing blood testing, quitting smoking, and refraining from drinking alcohol. Standard post-op instructions include taking specific medication and refraining from strenuous activity for a few weeks to months.
9. How long is the recovery period?
Depending on the procedure you’re interested in, the recovery period will vary.
Ask your surgeon what your recovery will entail making accommodations for yourself in advance. At the very least, you will need to organise time of work and arrange for someone to pick you up from surgery and keep an eye on you for the first 24 hours.
10. Are there any requirements before I can schedule my Gender Affirmation Surgery with my surgeon?
You will need a referral from a General Practitioner or Medical Specialist. Most surgeons also require a letter from a therapist or similar paperwork before scheduling MTF gender confirmation surgery. Ask your surgeon about their specific requirements and what you can do to expedite the scheduling process.
Why Choose Dr Briggs? Melbourne Transgender Surgeon
Dr Patrick Briggs is a specials plastic surgeon and operates in an accredited hospital for all his gender surgeries.
He has the appropriate plastic surgeon qualifications and members of recognised associations. Look for members of:
- Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS)
- Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
- Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
- Or, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)
MTF (Male to Female) Top Surgery or FTM (Female to Male) Top Surgery is a highly specialised field, so the choice of the right surgeon with the right experience can impact the results you are looking for.
Looking for a Gender Affirmation Surgeon in Sydney or around Australia?
- Best Sydney Plastic Surgeon for Gender Affirmation Surgery and Top Surgery
- Who are the best transgender surgeons in Australia? – New Body Specialists Article
Medical References and Further Reading about Transgender Surgery:
- Top Surgery Questions
- What to Ask in Your Consult
- Reconstructive Gender Surgery
- Best Transgender Surgeons in Australia
Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.
Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.