4 Things You Should Know Before Your Mastectomy

Posted by Dr. Hugh McLean on 22 February 2017

There are many procedures that help individuals make the FTM transition and create a masculine appearance that’s aligned with their identified gender.

FTM Mastectomy Facts

Mastectomy procedures allow transgender males to remove unwanted breast tissue. This can be a significant step in the transition process and provides a wide range of benefits.

The following are four things you should know before your mastectomy. Knowing what to expect helps you achieve better results and a speedy recovery.

  1. Mastectomy BasicsThe mastectomy is typically one of the first procedures that transgender males undergo, as removing breast tissue creates a more masculine appearance.

    The procedure is often referred to as “top surgery” and there are a number of methods used depending on the unique needs of each patient.

  2. Post-Surgery CareThe results you get from your mastectomy will primarily depend on the care that’s provided after the surgery is completed.

    Doctors commonly give patients compression garments that aid the healing process and prevent common issues such as fluid buildup and scarring.

    Patients must be careful when showering to avoid infection and trauma to the treated areas, and it’s important to keep these areas away from direct streams of water.

    Drying the areas carefully and applying dressings correctly will prevent these and other risks. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions that are tailored to your unique case.

  3. Mastectomy Procedure TypesThe following are some of the types of procedures used to perform a mastectomy:
    • Periareolar (keyhole)
    • Bilateral or Double-incision with nipple grafts

    Each procedure has unique considerations that patients should understand prior to undergoing a mastectomy.

    Periareolar mastectomies are performed using a small incision that is applied around the nipple area. The risk of scarring is minimal, and the procedure is ideal for patients who have smaller amounts of tissue to remove and ideal positioning of the nipples.

    The bilateral or double-incision mastectomy with nipple grafts makes it easy for doctors to remove all of the tissue and any excess skin. This allows them to modify and reposition the nipples in order to achieve the desired results.

    Many patients have excess skin, which makes the bilateral or double-incision mastectomy with nipple grafts one of the most common procedures for FTM top surgeries.

  4. Medical Coverage for Your MastectomyGetting coverage for FTM mastectomy procedures is difficult since most insurance companies consider it to be a cosmetic procedure.

    But transgender procedures are increasingly being recognized by insurance providers as eligible for coverage. In fact as of this past year, 2016, the Ontario government recognized top surgery as a procedure that is eligible for insurance coverage if certain criterias are met. This has made it much more affordable and accessible for many Ontario residents.

    Inquiring with your employer or insurance provider will give you the information you need to determine the costs that need to be addressed. Additionally, some other surgeries may be covered provincially.

    There may be procedures related to qualifying for coverage, so make sure you understand these and any other information provided to you.

These are five things you should know before your mastectomy to get the best results from your procedure. Having the resources you need gives you peace of mind and the proper guidance on moving forward through the FTM transition process.

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