Surgical options for trans men
Female-to-male (FTM) gender confirmation surgery involves a number of individual steps; which of those individual steps may come into question for a particular person depends, among other things, on what changes that person is hoping to achieve. Of course, the patient’s physical condition and any potential contraindications also factor into the final decision as to whether a particular surgery can be performed or not. For many trans men in Zurich, mastectomies are a significant step on their journeys, because breasts are often associated with femininity and can be difficult to conceal. Clothing and binders can help „hide“ them, but don’t solve the problem of making people feel comfortable in their own skin. Surgical breast removal can be an excellent treatment option to help people really identify with the person they see in the mirror. Read on for more information on mastectomies and other gender confirmation options.
What does transgender mean?
Topics related to gender dysphoria and trans
identity have started receiving more public and media attention in the past few
years; fortunately, as more information becomes available, overall trans
acceptance is on the rise as well. Even so, there is still a great deal of
misinformation and prejudice out there.
For trans individuals, the gender they were
assigned at birth (their external sex characteristics) does not match the
gender they feel they are (their gender identity)—they often feel like they
were „born with the wrong body“. Of course, the reality is often much more
complex than this simple definition is capable of expressing. Being trans is
about more than simple anatomy; it affects many areas of a person’s life.
Plastic surgery can offer trans people a way of
getting one step closer to a physique that they can feel good about and
Breast removal – the mastectomy
Gender confirmation mastectomy means that the
plastic surgeon removes the patient’s mammary gland tissue to create a flatter
torso with more masculine contours. Several different incision pathways can be
used for the procedure, which is why the plastic surgeon uses patient
consultation sessions to create a treatment plan specific to the patient’s
desired results and individual circumstances. One possible method is to make a
circular incision around the areola. This technique is preferable with smaller
breasts, because it leaves small scars that are largely invisible. If larger
amounts of tissue will need to be removed, however, a longer incision is
usually necessary. As part of the operation, the plastic surgeon also removes
any excess skin and uses additional liposuction to smooth out peripheral fatty
tissue, yielding more harmonious results.
Other gender confirmation procedures
Mastectomies are just one of several treatment
options available to FTM people. Whether they are performed depends primarily
on the individual’s goals and desires.
- Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
- Oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
- Salpingectomy (removal of the Fallopian tubes)
- Vaginectomy (removal of the vagina)
- Phalloplasty (microsurgical construction of a
Are there any risks involved in mastectomies?
Operations are always associated with certain
risks. Choosing an experienced plastic surgeon – particularly one experienced
with breast surgery – helps minimize the risk of mastectomy-related
Swelling, redness and bruising are normal
following an operation; patients should also expect a temporary feeling of
numbness or tension in the chest. Some people find that their chests are more
sensitive than usual. Most of the time, these issues subside after a few days
to a few weeks. Proper after-care and sufficient rest can help actively support
the healing process.
More serious complications can occur in rare
cases, such as impaired wound healing, chronic changes in sensation, tissue
swelling, excessive scar formation, infections, bleeding, or embolisms. A
reputable plastic surgeon will take time to go over potential risks in detail
as part of the patient’s individual consultation session.
Goals and results of mastectomy procedures
The goal of mastectomy operations is to remove female breasts and give the patient’s chest and torso a masculine shape. Plastic surgeons take great care to make sure that the results will be as natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing as possible, while minimizing the risk of complications and scarring. Liposuction optimizes the results even further. As long as the patient’s weight does not fluctuate excessively, the patient’s chest will retain its new shape permanently. Corrective procedures are an option for patients who desire scar correction or are dissatisfied with their results in general.