Gender reassignment surgery, also known as gender confirmation, is a cosmetic procedure done to help a patient transition to the gender they feel they were born to be. Transgender patients have what is known clinically as gender dysphoria. This means that a biological male identifies as a female and vice versa. Surgery is usually recommended as a last resource for these types of patients. In fact, some health care providers won’t even help these patients until they get clearance from a mental health professional and a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria is confirmed. Hormone therapy is also considered before going in for surgery. Hormones can be taken by the patient to block the secondary sex characteristics of a person and make them appear more like their desired sex. For instance, women can take androgens to appear more masculine and men can take estrogens to appear more feminine. In some cases, surgeons may require the patient to live as their desired gender for at least one year to make sure they truly want to make the ultimate transition.
As you can tell, this surgical procedure is not considered lightly by the medical community, so the patient must take initial steps to ensure that this is what he or she truly wants. As with any surgical procedure, expect moderate to severe scarring to result. In this article, we will take a closer look at gender reassignment surgery and how you can treat your post-operative scars.
Surgery and scarring
Gender reassignment surgery can be performed to make a biological woman appear more like a man, and a biological man appear more like a woman. In both cases, the patient is presumed to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Surgeries can be classified as top surgery or bottom surgery. Top surgery aims to restructure and reshape the chest to resemble the transgender person’s desired sex. A man transitioning to a woman may want to augment his chest while a woman transitioning to a man will typically have her chest reduced and flattened. On the other hand, bottom surgery is used to reshape the genitalia. Bottom surgeries include phalloplasty, metoidioplasty, and vaginoplasty. All of these procedure types are considered major surgical interventions that will produce some amount of scarring. While some scars fade over time, others will develop into keloids or hypertrophic scars.
Factors that influence the way your scars appear are varied. If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you quit smoking for 3-4 weeks before and after your surgery. Smoking reduces blood flow and the amount of oxygen that reaches the wound site. Wounds need ample amounts of oxygen to heal. It’s also a good idea to avoid direct sunlight since UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation in the scar tissue. If you have to be out in the sun, make sure you apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Finally, it should go without saying that you should keep your incisions clean and covered. If you surgeon covered your incisions with bandages, make sure you follow his or her instructions for when to remove them. Keeping your wounds clean helps ensure that they don’t become infected which will delay wound healing and increase scarring.
Post-operative scar therapy
Post-operative scar therapy is sought after by many post-surgical patients because they want their scars to fade as quickly as possible. For patients who are predisposed to keloids and hypertrophic scars, medical-grade silicone is a clinically-proven solution that is safe and effective for all skin types. Topical silicone for scars is hypoallergenic and works for old and new scars. Silicone gel works simply and effectively through the mechanisms of dermal hydration and collagen regulation. Scars need an ideal healing environment (homeostasis) to heal properly. Silicone gel allows the user to induce moisture and oxygen at the scar bed to signal a reduction of collagen buildup at the site. This reduction of collagen allows the scar to flatten and fade in as little as 2-3 months. Ask your physician if silicone gel is right for you or order online at biodermis.com.