Gender reassignment surgery

What is gender reassignment surgery?

Gender reassignment surgery is any surgical procedure involved in facilitating a male-to-female (MtF) or female-to-male (FtM) transition. Gender reassignment surgery is complex and can involve a number of separate procedures, carried out over several operations.

When is gender reassignment surgery required?

Surgery is generally the last step of a person’s transition. In the UK, to receive gender reassignment surgery through the NHS you need to first spend twelve months living in a social role appropriate to your gender identity. Gender reassignment surgery also comes after any hormonal treatment you have received, whether oestrogen (for MtF transitions) or testosterone (for FtM transitions).

What does it involve?

The exact procedures involved depend on whether you are undergoing a MtF or FtM transiton:

Male-to-female transition

The procedures involved in a male-to-female transition include:

  • removal of the penis and testes
  • breast implants
  • construction of a vagina, vulva and clitoris – usually from the skin from the penis
  • surgery on the face to make it more feminine
  • in some cases, the removal of the prostate gland

Female-to-male transition

The procedures involved in a female-to-male transition include:

  • removal of the breasts
  • removal of the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • construction of a penis and testes – using vaginal tissue and skin from the forearm
  • a penile implant

In both forms of surgery, the aim is to retain sexual sensation and function.

Follow-up

The extent of follow-up care depends on how much surgery you elect to have and where you have the procedure. It is very likely you will receive psychotherapy to help you adjust to your new body and lifestyle.