In his latest online article, leading London-based plastic surgeon Mr Christopher Inglefield offers some of his expert insight into feminisation surgery. He explains what potential patients need to consider, how to prioritise procedures to make the biggest impact, and how the success of these procedures is assessed.
What do potential patients need to consider?
If you are considering feminisation surgery (facial, body or gender affirming) it is important to make sure that your surgeon has top qualifications and expert experience. It is essential that you feel a connection with the surgeon who is going to take care of you during your journey to achieving your goals. Unfortunately, patients sometimes make decisions based on cost, which can be detrimental to their long-term health and outcomes.
I am very conscious that this huge surgery for most individuals, so we try to guide our patients that they prioritise the procedures that will make the biggest impact on their feminisation, while also taking into account the price.
How do you prioritise procedures to make the biggest impact?
Before patients undergo feminisation surgery, we try to help them understand which procedure will have the biggest impact, and therefore the procedures they should prioritise. We create a list of procedures, with the highest-impact procedure at the top and then we work our way down. Unfortunately, everyone has a budget and it sometimes won be possible to get all of the procedures at once.
How is the success of gender-affirming surgery assessed?
The success of an operation is judged by the patients, not by myself. The patients will tell me that they feel very confident about their appearance, and are confident to do things such as change in a gym for example, without feeling that they stand out from everyone else.
Another marker of a successful operation is the ability to have normal sexual intercourse. Most patients will resume having sexual intercourse after about three months. One of the goals of this surgery is for the patient to be able to have normal vaginal penetration that is comfortable, pleasurable and erogenous.
As many patients undergoing this surgery are at the final stage of their transition journey, they become officially registered as female. Many of the patients get a letter from the NHS saying they are due for a smear test, but they don’t have a cervix so there is nothing to pap smear. Some patients go to a women’s health clinic and the nurses don’t even realise they are transgender females as they look so normal.
Mr Christopher Inglefield is a highly-experienced consultant plastic surgeon and an expert in gender confirmation surgery. If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Inglefield, you can do so today via his Top Doctors profile.