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Frequently Asked Questions? FAQs

What surgery is performed?

Depending on the appearance and health of the patient, surgery for male-to-female transsexuals may include: Facial feminization Surgery, removal of the penis (penectomy); construction of a vagina (vaginoplasty); removal of the testicles (orchiectomy); construction of a clitoris (clitoroplasty); and possible breast augmentation; nose reshaping (rhinoplasty); cosmetic surgery such as hair transplants or facial remodeling; shaving of the Adam's apple (thyroid chrondroplasty) and raising the pitch of the voice (crico-thyroid. For female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals, surgery may include removal of the womb and ovaries (hysterectomy and oophorectomy); removal of the breasts and male chest contouring (bilateral mastectomy); matoidioplasty( freeing of the hormonally enlarged clitoris) and possibly construction of a penis (phaloplasty). Only a small number of FTM transsexuals undergo phaloplasty because of the expense and what most of them consider less than adequate surgical results.

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I'm one of those males that would like to live as a woman, but I'm not sure about Sex Reassignment Surgery. I don't even like going to the dentist. Is this normal?

Sex Reassignment Surgery is very common choice amongst the people I see day to day, but it isn't necessary. Many people choose to live as non-ops. One reason they choose to do so is because they are afraid of undergoing surgery. That is why I start speaking about surgery relatively early in my work with people who have made it clear that they are going to transition. I try to make it sound as ordinary and safe as it really has become. I also encourage them to discuss their fears with several different surgeons. They should also talk with friends who are now post-op and see what that experience was like for them.

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I have heard that in some cases, the prostate gland is removed as part of sex reassignment surgery. Is that true?

To the best of my knowledge, surgeons have never removed the prostate gland here in the USA. Estrogen replacement therapy tends to reduce the size of the prostate gland, leaving it quiescent.

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I'm in college writing an essay on SRS. I was wondering if you had anything to share regarding the aftermath of surgery. I understand there are many psychological issues before the irreversible surgery (depression, suicidal ideas) but what about after? Is it completely wrong to think that some patients are putting in all of the time to get the surgery and then cutting off the psychological help? Or is the surgery enough to solve these problems?

That is a good question. Actually a certain percentage of post-ops do stay in therapy for a while after surgery. However, that is mainly to ease out of the years of pre-op work that has been going on. Keep in mind that a letter of referral is given only to those individuals who have come to terms with their transsexual status and have shown that they are living comfortably in their new gender role. To clarify, it is not the surgery per se that solves the problem. It is the hormones and all the years of preparation that solves the problem.

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Nothing on this site should be viewed as providing therapeutic advice. No formation of a client/therapist
relationship with Dr. Vitale is intended or to be implied or inferred. The information provided in this site is for educational
purposes only. I attempt to keep the information current but make no representation or warranties in that regard. You should
not rely upon this information as a substitute for consul with a qualified mental health professional.