Since the 1970’s when we started to see more alternative lifestyles become more accepted, to today when we have a thriving transgender community in most countries all around the world, it’s only a natural progression that plastic surgery has developed procedures to enable men and women to become more comfortable in their bodies whatever their gender.
Dr Lisa Friederich, Plastic Surgeon, is experienced in gender reassignment procedures and has a sensitive and gentle approach for anyone looking to undergo such life changing surgery. Dr Friederich says it’s important for her to be convinced that the person undergoing the surgery is aware of exactly what is involved in the surgery, as well as being mentally ready for the surgery. A referral from another health practitioner, ie. doctor or psychiatrist is also helpful to ensure the patient understands the enormities of such procedures.
Before commencing medical studies, Dr Friederich studied Art and Photography and has even had her work exhibited in the Art Gallery of WA. It was this artistic drive that attracted her to plastic surgery. Her innate appreciation and understanding of aesthetics is invaluable in her planning and practice in plastic surgery, whether it is a minor skin cancer removal or a major cosmetic procedure such as gender reassignment. She approaches each individual patient with the unique consideration they deserve. Indeed, she says, “Surgery is an art and should be directed at you personally for the best and most natural outcomes.”
So, once you know gender reassignment surgery is something you have to do, what procedures might you consider?
This is the complete removal of the breast. For female to male transitions, this is usually the first procedure considered. Combined with hormone therapy which will create more muscle mass and usually grow hair, this can create a more masculine appearance.
For male to female patients, feeling more feminine often begins with having breasts. Whilst breast augmentation is a common enough procedure, it is slightly different with a transgender as there is usually less skin to work with and so it might need stretching to fit the implants underneath. Your surgeon will detail exactly what will be involved in the procedure.
Also known as sex reassignment, this is where a person with male parts, ie. a penis, can be reconstructed to have a vagina – also known as a penectomy, orchiectomy or vaginoplasty. Or in the case of a person with female parts wanting to complete the transition to becoming a male, a metoidioplasty or phalloplasty or the construction of a penis.
Quite often there are multiple procedures involved for those undergoing sex reassignment. Changing the face to be more in line with the way the patient feels is a common inclusion. Contouring of the face can be achieved using various methods including plastic surgery such as a facelift or eye lift (blepharoplasty), fillers, injectables, etc. and can result in a more chiselled jawline for men, or a softer face for the women or anything else depending on what the patient identifies as right for them. Dr Friederich says it’s important to discuss with your surgeon the results you are hoping for so you can come up with a plan that’s going to be right for you. It can also be helpful to have photos of the type of look you are wishing to achieve.
Gender reassignment, or sex change, can be a massive undertaking, both physically and mentally. Choosing your surgeon is a hugely important step in the process and we suggest you visit at least two to ensure you compare prices, as well as find one that you are completely comfortable with and who you feel understands exactly the results you want to achieve. Dr Lisa Friederich is experienced in most aspects of gender reassignment, however does not do the genital reconstruction. At the current time there are few options for this surgery in Australia.
We recently did a wonderful story on transgender Amelia – she shared her experience with us. Check it out here.
If you’d like more information on Dr Lisa Friederich click here, or if you’d like to arrange a consultation give her a call on 1300DrLisa.