What is Gender affirmation surgery?
Gender affirmation surgery/gender confirmation surgery/transgender surgery are all terms for the surgical procedure in which your surgeon changes your physical characteristics.
This procedure may help with the treatment of gender dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is a psychological condition in which a person does not identify with the gender they were born.
There are two main types of top surgery. Male to Female (MTF) and Female to Male/Nonspecific (FTM/N). The surgery either removes breast tissue to make the chest more masculine or involves breast implants and/or tissue to make the chest more feminine.
Other transgender plastic surgery
- Top surgery (chest masculinisation surgery), surgeries or chest shaping with implants (performed by Dr Briggs).
- Bottom surgery, – Orchiectomy, vaginoplasty, scrotoplasty, hysterectomy for masculinisation, facial feminisation surgery.
- NOTE – While Dr Briggs does perform top surgery he doesn’t offer bottom surgery.
Male to Female Transgender Top Surgery (MTF – Gender Affirmation
It is also known as Transgender Breast Augmentation or feminising breast surgery – breast mammoplasty. The surgical procedure adds tissue or implants to make a more feminine chest.
This procedure is for transgender individual who want to look more feminine and overcome their gender dysphoria by changing the shape and size of their breasts.
Female to Male Transgender Top Surgery (FTM/N) – Gender Affirmation
Female to Male top surgery is the reconstructive surgical procedure involving the removal of breast tissue.
Other names for this procedure include; masculinising chest surgery or subcutaneous mastectomy.
It is a treatment of gender dysphoria in transgender men. The goal of this surgery is to help transgender individuals make a physical change to the gender they identify with.
Gender Affirmation Before and After Photos
Due to the recent updates in guidelines by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), our website is currently undergoing substantial revisions. As a result, we have had to remove the majority of our Before and After photos to comply with these new regulations. Our utmost priority is to maintain the accuracy and compliance of our content, and we are actively working to reintroduce a more extensive collection of before and after photos in the near future. You can view additional Before and After photos of Dr Briggs’ patients, during an in-person consultation at our clinic.
The photos on this website and in our office are for informational purposes. The images demonstrate the potential outcomes of procedures. Individual results will vary, and effects cannot be guaranteed. The photos do not promise or guarantee specific results. They are meant to help visualise potential outcomes.
Each patient is unique, and many factors affect surgical results.
In consultations, Dr. Briggs evaluates each patient and discusses realistic expectations.
Hormone Therapy and Gender Surgery
Hormone therapy involves either testosterone or estrogen. In some transgender individuals, hormone therapy can help the chest muscles to grow. While, for others, it can increase the breast tissue before breast augmentation.
Hormones before surgery may give an individual a better outcome after the top surgery but it is not a necessity. The doctor often tests your hormone levels before the surgery to ensure if it is within the target range.
Your Transgender Surgery Journey
Before you can begin your journey, you will need to get a referral from a General Practitioner (GP) or Medical Specialist. (As of 1st June 2023)
Before you undergo top surgery, you will have thorough consultations with your surgeon to fulfil certain prerequisites. Your doctor will screen and diagnose your mental and physical health status and if you have any medical comorbidities. This includes:
- Evaluate your personal and family medical history
- A general physical examination that includes all your reproductive system assessment, cardiac, respiratory, or gastrointestinal system assessment.
- Various lab investigations of your blood, urine, or X rays.
- Along with physical assessment, your doctor will also require a mental health examination.
- This will include your gender identity and dysphoria.
- How your gender identity has made an effect on your school, home, office, and all your friends and family.
- Mood issues
- You will need a WPATH Letter from a transgender expert psychologist or expert.
Consent for Gender Confirmation Surgery
After discussing all the risks, complications and conditions with your doctor, you must give informed consent that includes:
- Risks and reasons.
- Alternative method.
- Social and legal implications.
- Complications as well as the irreversibility of the procedure.
If you are nervous or unsure of the procedure, you can always talk with fellow transgender people who have undergone similar procedures.
Risks and Complications of Gender Affirmation Surgery
Gender affirmation surgery like all surgeries, it carries risks and potential complications. Some of the risks and complications associated with gender affirmation surgery, include:
- Poor Wound Healing
- Changes in sensations
- Anesthesia Risks
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory Complication
It’s essential for individuals considering gender affirmation top surgery to have a thorough consultation with a qualified surgeon who specializes in this procedure. They can discuss these risks and help individuals make informed decisions about their healthcare. Additionally, following pre-operative and post-operative instructions and having a support system in place can aid in a smoother recovery process.
Visit our Risks page for more information.
Recovery and Results after Top Surgery
After surgery, your chest will be wrapped and compressed for several weeks following the surgery. Some additional precautions you must take after the procedure are:
- Sleep – You will need to sleep with your body at an angle. This is to raise your torso so you are not lying flat. You should sleep in this position for few weeks after the surgery.
- You must avoid heavy chest exercises for 2 to 3 months post-surgery.
- Additional surgery- You may need additional surgery if you need to improve your chest size or shape.
- You will need to follow up if you desire further hormone replacement therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average cost for gender affirmation surgery?
The price usually depends on the type of surgery you are doing. The typical cost of gender affirmation top surgery can range from $12,000 to $20,000 or more. The costs depend on the different techniques, surgeon fee, hospital fee etc.
Is gender affirmation surgery painful?
It is common to feel some pain and discomfort during recovery. Every person is different therefore the level of pain patients experience after surgery varies.
Is gender affirmation surgery considered cosmetic?
Although gender surgery is done to manage the medical condition gender dysphoria, it is considered cosmetic.
However, it is considered a medical necessity under the following conditions:
- You are above 16 years of age and are legally approved to choose whatever gender you want.
- You are in complete well-being with no further medical illness.
- There is an applicable Medicare item number
Do you get scars after MTF top surgery?
Yes, MTF top surgery results in some degree of scarring. They will gradually fade and flatten over time, but they will never fully disappear.
How long does the Gender Affirmation top surgery take?
It depends on the procedure and the surgeon. Generally speaking, it can take between 1 hour and 3 hours.
Can breasts grow back after top surgery?
Although a little tissue is left behind to maintain the contour of the chest, 95% of the tissue is taken. So, breast tissue will not grow back.
Will I need multiple surgeries for the MTF top surgery?
Most patients only require a single surgery however <5% will have to undergo additional surgery to revise results from the first procedure.
When can I resume my daily work activities after Gender Affirmation surgery?
You can leave the hospital the next day after surgery but you can only resume your office job after 2 to 3 weeks. You are recommended to avoid heavy chest work for 2 to 3 months.
Its important to get the all clear from your surgeon before resuming any physical activities.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon in Australia for Gender Surgery
There are differences between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons concerning their education, training, qualifications, operating rights and more.
In Australia, a plastic surgeon must have the following qualifications:
- An undergraduate degree in medicine, typically a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree.
- A minimum of two years of general medical training as a junior hospital doctor.
- Completion of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) surgical education and training program, which includes at least five years of accredited surgical training, with at least two years in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
- Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Plastic surgeons in Australia must also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and adhere to the standards and guidelines set forth by the Medical Board of Australia.
You also want to ensure the surgeon you choose has:
- Extensive experience in different types of gender affirmation surgery
- Available Patient Before and After Photos.
- Detailed recovery plans
- A great support team.
Plastic V’s Cosmetic Surgeons
There are definite benefits to choosing a plastic surgeon over a cosmetic surgeon. It is important for you to know who your surgeon really is. Cosmetic surgeons are NOT specialist plastic surgeons.
A cosmetic surgeon could just be a General Practitioner (GP) who has decided to perform body surgery, whereas a qualified specialist plastic surgeon will have years of study and membership from their governing body.
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.