With the newly gained freedom for gender expression and increased acceptance of non-traditional views, an increasing number of people are questioning their gender identity and opting for gender reassignment. According to a study conducted by NHS researchers, the number of people seeking referrals to gender clinics has increased about 20 times in the past ten years.
As a result, there has also been a rise in gender-affirming treatments and procedures. Transgender breast surgery is one of them.
What is a Transgender Breast Surgery?
Transgender breast surgery or surgical breast augmentation is a type of top surgery that is considered one of the most (if not the most) important steps for transfeminine patients in their identity actualization journey. Also sometimes referred to as chest feminization, the procedure involves adding volume to the breast tissues via fat grafting or implants. In some cases, there may also be a need to reposition and/or reshape the nipples to give a more affirming look to the breasts.
Preparing for Transgender Breast Surgery
Although the actual process of breast augmentation through surgery is starkly similar in transgender and cisgender people, there are unique guidelines and considerations that healthcare providers must undertake to ensure optimal outcomes. It is recommended for a transgender person to have completed hormone therapy and received professional counselling before undergoing breast surgery. You may also be required to provide a letter of recommendation from a certified mental health professional in order to be considered for breast augmentation surgery.
Hormone therapy helps develop breast tissues, whereas professional counselling helps set realistic expectations and ensure you’re in good mental health to undergo the significant body transformation procedure.
What Does a Transgender Breast Surgery Entail?
Most often than not, breast augmentation (for both trans and cis people) is performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you are allowed to go home the same day. The procedure itself can take three to five hours.
Breast augmentation starts with your cosmetic surgeon marking the areas on your chest to ensure proper alignment and symmetry. You will then be given anaesthesia, after which the doctor will perform the surgery, and you will wake up with stitches on your chest, wearing a surgical bra.
While breast augmentation can be performed through fat grafting or fat transfer, it is increasingly becoming less common (and preferred) due to the multiple procedures involved in it and the easy availability of good-quality breast implants.
Recovering from Breast Augmentation Surgery
The fact that breast augmentation is usually performed as an outpatient procedure doesn’t mean there’s no downtime, and you can resume normal activities instantly. Your doctor will most likely suggest complete rest for at least three days and limited activity for about another two weeks. During this time and perhaps for a few more weeks, you can expect to have some swelling, pain, and sensitivity on the surgical site. But it should begin to gradually subside after the first few days and can be easily managed with over-the-counter drugs. Your doctor will provide detailed guidelines about what you can and cannot do until you’re fully recovered. However, some general care instructions include:
- Not lifting your arms over the head or more than 90 degrees.
- Not lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy (anything above five pounds) objects.
Your doctor will also provide instructions about changing the dressing, showering, and how long you need to wear a surgical bra. Listen carefully and make sure to strictly follow all of them.
How Long Does It Take to See Results from Transgender Breast Augmentation?
The results of transgender breast augmentation are instantly visible; however, it can take anywhere from three to six months to see the final results. This is because it takes time for the breast implants to settle and get into the natural position, for the tissues of the body to settle around them, and for the bruising and swelling to completely subside.
The Final Word
Since breasts have always been associated with femininity, breast augmentation surgery can help trans women align their physical appearance with their gender identity, giving them a renewed (enhanced) sense of confidence. If you’re looking to undergo the procedure, get in touch with a certified plastic surgeon to explore your options, discuss results, and plan the various steps of the breast enhancement procedure that you may need to go through to achieve the best results.
Dr. Shivram Singh is a leading cosmetic surgeon in Manchester and has been helping people achieve their aesthetic goals and look the best version of themselves for over 25 years. He is part of the dynamic team of aestheticians at Manchester Private Hospital and has performed numerous cosmetic surgeries, including transgender breast surgery, with great results.