Top 5 tips for choosing a gender-affirming surgeon

For transgender, nonbinary and gender-expansive patients, choosing a gender-affirming can be one of the most important health decisions they will ever make. But how do you know the surgeon you choose is the right one for your embodiment goals?

Below is a list of tips to help guide you in the decision-making process and find the right surgeon for you:

Research Their Credentials

Researching your surgeon’s training and experience is a crucial step in choosing a gender-affirming surgeon. As a patient, you have the right to inquire about your surgeon’s background to ensure they are a match for what you need. It’s important that you verify a doctor’s license and background through a governing agency. In California, you can verify a physician’s status and check for disciplinary actions through the Medical Board of California website. Other state agencies also provide this service.

When meeting with the surgeon for the first time, below are questions you’ll want to ask to determine if the surgeon is the right fit for you:

1. Does the surgeon specialize in the type of procedure I want?

2. Are they board-certified?

3. Who did the surgeon train under?

4. How long have they been practicing?

5. How often have they performed the procedure I need?

Peruse Their Gallery

Looking at before and after photos can be a great way to get a feel for a surgeon’s style and techniques. Looking at galleries can also help you envision what you’d like for your body so you can discuss this when appropriate with your surgeon. The best way to ensure you are happy with your end result is by going into the surgical process informed.

Look Up Testimonials and Reviews

Listening to what previous patients have to say about a surgeon is crucial to understand if they are the right one for you. Not only will testimonials and reviews help you gauge the surgeon’s bedside manner, but they also may help you think of some questions to ask your surgeon in your first consultation.

Ask How They’ll Work with You

Gender-affirming procedures should be a collaborative effort between you and your surgeon. While your surgeon may be well-versed in procedures and techniques, that does not mean that they will know what is best for you without your input. However, what your surgeon can and should do is work with you to figure out what your embodiment goals are in the consultation. Once they understand your desired look, your surgeon can tailor your treatment plan to you and your specific anatomy.

Find Out Where They are Located

Location can be a huge factor in the decision-making process for patients. Some states may offer gender-affirming surgery, while others do not. Whether you are in-state or out-of-state, you’ll need to consider the convenience of location. If your surgeon is far away from home, you may need to factor in hotel and transportation costs when it comes time for surgery. Determine what you are willing to do financially and how far you are willing to travel before deciding on your surgeon.

Overall, the best thing you can do as a patient is empower yourself by being informed. Please don’t feel intimidated to ask your surgeon questions! They will be the best source of information, as the internet can be inaccurate or include misinformation.

We wish you the best of luck on your surgical journey!

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