Mastectomies for trans men – frequently asked questions about mastectomy
Any surgical procedure obviously requires a great deal of planning, and mastectomies for trans men in Zurich are no different. Plastic surgeons adapt the procedure to each individual set of circumstances in order to achieve patients‘ desired results as closely as possible. Personal consultation sessions before the operation are an opportunity for patients to ask any questions they have, and to obtain expert information on what surgical options are available, what the procedure will be like, and whether any risks are involved. On this page, we’ve answered a few of the most common questions patients have about mastectomy operations.
When is mastectomy an option?
or breast removal, may be performed for a variety of reasons. As a gender
confirmation procedure, mastectomy becomes an option if and when patients
decide to have their breasts removed. In other words, it’s a completely
individual decision rather than one of strict medical necessity: female-to-male
trans people often find having breasts extremely bothersome, because it goes
against the body image they identify with, and female breasts can often be
difficult or impossible to conceal. Having a mastectomy can give people a new
sense of positivity about their own bodies.
How do I arrange for an operation?
consultation is important before treatment begins. For one, it helps doctors
and patients get to know one another and establish a basis of trust. For
another, it gives the plastic surgeon a chance to explain the procedure in
detail, examine the patient thoroughly to make sure that surgery is not
contraindicated, and create a plan with the patient on how to proceed. The
specialist will also go over the necessary prerequisites with the patient
(psychiatric/psychological letter of referral, application for insurance
coverage, etc.) Once preparations have been made and any questions have been
cleared up, the doctor gives the patient time to decide whether or not to have
the operation. If the patient chooses to proceed, the patient and the plastic
surgeon work together to set a date for surgery.
What are the different mastectomy procedures?
mastectomies for trans men, the type of incision used typically depends on the
size of the patient’s natural breasts. With smaller breasts, the plastic
surgeon will make a circular incision around the areola, and then use it as an
access port to remove the mammary glands before smoothing out the periphery of
the torso using liposuction for a natural, aesthetic result. If the patient has
larger breasts, an additional horizontal incision will be necessary in order to
tighten the skin. Here, too, additional liposuction helps refine the results of
What kind of anesthesia is used during the operation?
are always performed under general anesthesia. Some hospitals use an additional
pectoralis block, a long-acting local anesthetic which numbs the entire chest
area for 18 hours. This makes less pain medication necessary after the
operation, which reduces the associated side effects.
Do I have to stay in the hospital afterwards?
procedures do involve a short hospital stay, so that the patient has a chance
to recover and receives good medical care immediately after the operation. If
any complications do develop, hospital staff can react quickly in order to
prevent any additional complications or discomfort. Most patients can go home
after two days, though this varies depending on the specific procedure and the
patient’s individual condition following surgery.
How long will I have to wear the bandage?
protective bandage is applied after the mastectomy. The sterile surgical
bandage is removed the day after the operation; the day after that, the
protective bandage is replaced with special compression clothing that helps
minimize post-operative pain. The compression effect also holds the wound
cavities closed, which makes the end results look more natural.
What can I do to minimize scarring?
incisions are chosen to ensure that any future scars are hardly visible.
Patients should avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight in the first
few months following surgery, because excess UV radiation can impair healing
and result in scar hyperpigmentation. Special scar creams are also available.
Within a year (sometimes as long as two years), the scars generally fade to the
point that they can barely detectable.
How long after my mastectomy will I need to rest?
especially important for patients to get plenty of rest in the first few days
after surgery. After that, they can resume some physical activity (taking
walks, for example), though strenuous movement and sports are best avoided at
first. After four to six weeks, upon medical consultation, patients can start
doing sports again. However, make sure to start slowly and avoid overexertion.
Do breasts grow back?
No, once removed, mammary gland tissue will not grow back. An unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise can cause the remaining fat cells in the chest to increase in size, however—in other words, patients can still gain weight and volume in their torsos as usual. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help patients maintain the aesthetic results of their treatment.