What are the Dangers of Gender Reassignment Surgery?

What are the dangers of gender reassignment surgery?

A loaded question. The casual reader instantly goes to “gender reassignment “ and concentrates on that instead.

A better question be, what are the dangers of surgery? Then the casual reader will be more inclined to answer with a more informed viewpoint, as many in the population have had a surgical procedure of one sort or another during their life times.

Dangers of Gender Reassignment Surgery

The dangers of surgery are many of course and I need not list them all here. But let’s have a stab at a few:

  • Bleeding
  • clotting disorders
  • infection
  • death (pretty major one that one I understand)

A better list is available here

Now, of course the OP wants us to concentrate on transgender folk. Why it must be asked I feel, because if they are really interested in surgery and the complications that arise, then they wouldn’t concentrate on just one form of it. A quick look at the question log shows it’s an old question, asked by someone when identities were still listed as anonymous. So it’s impossible to ascertain the authors intentions because they weren’t brave enough to reveal more about themselves.

So it is left to us, the Quora collective, to decide what is important. For me I have already given information into surgery and the risks that can follow *any* surgery so let’s concentrate on gender reassignment or reaffirming surgery to use the latest descriptive terminology.

One gentleman has gone to town warning of how our young is being forced into gender treatment at such a young age, and how their sexual organs will not be ready for such radical surgery. It’s possible he could be correct but he uses a Hollywood starlet as his proof and I doubt that one aspiring actress desperate to make her name in the industry should be used as negative proof.

Another gentleman uses an obscure article from 2017 which I won’t bother to reproduce that actually uses information from this 2011 article.

To give you the headline, on a study of just over 300 patients surveyed, from the early 70s until the 2000s showed this conclusion:

“Conclusions: Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.”

Troubling results I’m sure. But consider this.

  • The sample is remarkably small
  • The sample started in the early 70s, not a constructive era in the psychiatric world when ECT (electric conduct therapy) was still routinely used to “cure” people who declared themselves transexual
  • Possibly the most important - has no major finding of surgical complications- thus should be ignored in terms of the headline question immediately

So, back to the original question; What are the dangers of gender reassignment surgery?

Well beyond the dangers of surgery already documented above, let’s ask instead What are the dangers of gender reassignment?

Well, there is a wealth of literature out there and there are only so many hours in the day so I’ll assume the reader will forgive me from putting numerous references in. However, to go back to the original poster I mentioned, he included this graphic:


And he is quite right, the individual usually requires a sizeable area of scrotal tissue and penile tissue to create the neo-vagina. I know this as I went through the operation in 2015. But readers, please don’t panic as there is an alternative, Bowel vaginoplasty is where a section of large intestine is used as the vagina wall. It’s a more intensive surgery of course, but is commonly used especially in instances where the sufferer has had their testies removed early such as cancer or just the fact of having a rather small penis to start with. Wikipedia

So while his graphic was correct, it is alarmist and nothing more, as per my answer so far the complications on on a par with any surgical complications.

Benefits

Ah, let’s face it, I’m pro reassignment surgery when someone needs it, so I admit I’m biased.

A child who declares they feel they are in the wrong gender does not just hop along to their doctor and suddenly they grow boobs. It’s a little more involved than that. Now, internationally, standards differ of course, so this is a guide only.

Child says to parents , “I’m not a dude, I’m a chick”

“oh” says parent, “that’s a shock, let’s talk to the dr” (shortened version of course)

“oh” says doctor, “let me refer to a specialist”

“Oh” says specialist, and so on…

These steps do not take place the same day however, it could be months or years.

Following careful psychiatric consideration, the child is assessed and deemed applicable for puberty blocking medication. This is not hormone replacement medication! It just delays puberty to an age of consent for the child who once that age is reached, can make their own mind up on what happens next.

The confusing bit is the HRT, as I believe in some countries it can commence at 16. I am not certain on that, but after several years on puberty blocking drugs hopefully they have a shrewd idea whether of not it’s the right thing or not.

Why stop puberty I hear you ask? Well, while it has a negative aspects in terms of reassignment operative success as shown in our friend’s graphic above, the positives outweighs the negatives.

For a male to female child (MtF) they continue to grow but the sexual characteristics do not kick in. As such, they will not develop wide shoulders, big hands and feet, voice won’t drop and male shaped skull won’t develop. Once the child reaches age of consent they can decide (a) HRT and have the full effect of a female puberty or (b) decide they’re a dude after all, come off the blockers and let nature take its course.

For the Female to male child (FtM), very similar but the roles are reversed, they can achieve a full male puberty as a consequence

For both, they will still require surgery, but the puberty complications are lessened.

Because for an adult MtF or FtM post puberty changing from one gender route to the next is far more difficult to do. I’m lucky, I pass relatively well as a natural woman, but at 5′10″ with size (UK) 10 feet it’s easy to see if you look closely, where my origins lie. Had I been offered puberty blockers my transition would have been much easier.

Suicide rates amongst the transgender world is also cited as a complication with us. Depending on which study you follow, we’re either at a higher or lower risk than the rest of the population. All I can say is from my perspective. I was suicidal until I started transitioning in 2012. Now I live with a wonderful man and have no negative thoughts in that regard Whatsoever so I feel it was a complete success for me. Everyone is different however.

Yet I’ve never met anyone who has attempted suicide due to transitioning, and I was a nurse on a self harm ward for many years so I do have professional first hand knowledge of people self harming. Not one was a transgender person. I have yet to be convinced of transgender people dying from surgical complications (please correct me if I’m wrong) outside of any other surgical complication. And the only known negative aspect of transition I’m aware of is a lady I know who had the cosmetic operation (could never work out why) and has had neuropathic pain ever since.

That’s it. Just one person having continued pain compared to countless others now leading normal lives.

This title question is just to make people argue, and it will. Why it turned up on my timeline today is a mystery but there we are. Poorly informed people have put their theories forward and have been disproven I hope. I will say, anyone seeking this procedure, don’t worry. It’s a long road ahead I know, but it’s so worthwhile. It is a new life and you can be happy, just stop reading information from those that love to peddle out poorly written or second information, or worse still use examples of Hollywood starlets desperate for media attention.

Be happy, good luck.

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