For many, getting a gender reassignment surgery is a dream come true. It’s a decision that they went over their heads thousand times over, if not more. While preparing for it, one of the major aspects that you have to consider is whether to have your procedure done in a private clinic or a hospital. It’s a critical deciding factor that will dictate whether you’ll have the freedom to choose a plastic surgeon or not and what options you can take to settle the financial part.
In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of private clinics and hospitals in Canada when it comes to gender reassignment procedures.
Let’s delve right in!
Canadian healthcare has quite a reputation for its long waiting time, which can take up to several months. In a 2018 study by the Canadian Institute of Health, 84 percent of patients in Ontario had to wait for 182 weeks on average before they got a hip replacement surgery.
Waiting for treatment can be an emotionally and physically challenging ordeal for anyone, and patients who are hoping to get their turn for gender reassignment surgery are no exception. Countless top surgery hopefuls in Canada wait for a long time if they are lucky to get approved for healthcare coverage.
Although some provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, have expanded access to medically necessary sex reassignment surgery, applicants go against stringent criteria and approval is decided on a case-by-case basis during a consultation with a government-assigned gender psychiatrist.
Private practices offer a convenient alternative in this scenario because of the significantly quicker turnaround time. It is possible to get scheduled for an FTM top surgery merely days after consultation with a plastic surgeon in a private clinic.
Admittedly, there is a huge price difference as to how sex reassignment surgeons in private practices are going to charge compared to those who will perform it in a public hospital setting. Nevertheless, some would rather pay out of pocket and move forward with their future than put their life on hold while queuing for what seems like an eternity.
In hospitals, physicians and nursing staff attend to multiple patients with different conditions every day. Sometimes they are understaffed and therefore tend to get overwhelmed when push comes to shove. Naturally, they will prioritize patients in the emergency and intensive care units.
On the other hand, private clinics are designed mainly to cater to niche cases and provide a more intimate treatment setting. They have a limit to the number of clients they take on board. They also have an excellent patient to surgeon and staff ratio to begin with, which allows them to deliver a personalized level of care and service that can go above and beyond for the benefit of their patients.
Going through a gender reassignment surgery is a life-changing event for most individuals. It requires an extraordinary level of medical and emotional support and attention from surgeons and caregivers. These are a couple of things you can consistently count on in a private clinic.
Many people grow hopeless and desperate while waiting for their turn if they are ever approved for coverage for operation. Unfortunately, this can take a toll on their physical and emotional well being.
Beyond changing body parts, a gender reassignment procedure affirms who and what they are, which means the world to them. Without it, they continue to suffer from body dysmorphia. They are trapped and sucked into a body and life they dislike and never chose to have in the first place.
In the case of non-binary individuals seeking for FTM top surgery, they may resort to binding to conceal their female breasts and to achieve a masculine physique. When done daily for extended hours, it can cause devastating effects to their breast tissues or internal organs, and they may encounter breathing difficulties.
Opting to get your sex reassignment procedure in a private clinic can make you feel empowered and in control of such a personal journey. You have the power to decide when and where it’s going to happen. You can select a plastic surgeon, the surgery date, and every little detail in your treatment to tailor your specific needs and preference.
In 2019, Toronto‘s Women’s College Hospital (WCH), based in Toronto, made headlines for being the first public hospital in Canada to offer transition-related surgeries. Although this is deemed fantastic news, the truth remains that it’s still not as widely available as everyone hoped it would be.
Travelling to get your gender reassignment surgery can be inconvenient for a lot of people. You have to book for hotel accommodation for at least a week while you are recovering from your operation. Sadly, having it done in a public hospital away from home means having to go through everything alone, without the valuable support of your partner, family, and friends.
The beauty of getting private clinics is that they are super accessible and can be found in many convenient locations within where you live. This means you can arrange for a friend or a ride-hailing service to take you straight to your home a few hours after you wake up from the procedure. You can rest and recuperate in your room without having to pay for an additional expense on accommodation. Your loved ones can check in on you anytime.
Private practices do not have overnight beds, similar to hospitals. When you get your gender reassignment surgery done in a private clinic, you will be sent home several hours after the anesthetics have worn off and when you can stand on your own already. Because of this, there’s a dramatically reduced chance of developing an infection, a common scenario in a hospital setting.
Another disadvantage of getting a surgical procedure done in a hospital is the susceptibility of exposure to nosocomial infections, otherwise known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Based on research, 1 in every 10 patients admitted to hospitals will contract some form of hospital-acquired infection, which can significantly impact morbidity, mortality, and hospital billing.
For an infection to be classified as HAI, it should be contracted by the patient:
The most common examples of HAI are urinary tract infections (UTIs, surgical site infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, and pneumonia. These conditions are triggered after being exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungus. Ninety percent of HAI cases are caused by bacteria, with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) or Staph infection in the blood and Escherichia coli (E. coli) being the two most infamous ones.
You have to give this aspect a serious thought before deciding to get your gender reassignment surgery done in a hospital. Picture yourself crippled with anxiety about catching an infection while recovering from your hospital bed for eight days.
A winning quality among most private practices is that they are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art medical instruments and facilities to efficiently deliver the specialty treatment they offer, including gender reassignment surgery. As transition-related procedures are still rarely, if ever offered in hospitals in Canada, it can be expected that there will be little to no advancement or funding dedicated to procuring medical equipment for it.
One of the top reasons why people willingly go to private clinics for their gender reassignment surgery, even if it means paying out of their pocket, is that they get the assurance that they are in the hands of a seasoned specialist. Private clinics have one or a roster of highly trained and professionally experienced surgeons who specialize in plastic surgery in addition to transition-related operations.
Our very own Dr. Hugh McLean is certified as a specialist in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, Inc.
He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and completed specialized training in plastic surgery in Toronto and cosmetic surgery in Miami.
He has been on staff at the Trillium Health Centre since 1980 and is former Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Mississauga Hospital. He opened his private clinic in 1988, which means he has at least three decades under his belt. Dr. Mc Lean is best known as a “Top Surgeon” for “Top Surgery” because of his particular interest in FTM (female to male) and MTF (male to female) surgical transformation.
Perhaps the biggest and most obvious disadvantage of going to a private clinic to have a transition-related surgery is that it will not be covered by healthcare insurance. As it will be classified as an elective procedure, you have to settle the entire cost with your own money.
How much does a gender reassignment surgery cost, you ask. A typical FTM top surgery can cost $8,500 plus applicable taxes. This amount covers almost everything, from consultation to recovery, including:
The cost can be settled in cash or through credit cards and certified cheques. McLean Clinic is one of the best-rated private clinics in Ontario that offers gender reassignment surgery. We can assist you in obtaining financing through the widely respected finance companies, Crelogix and Medicard.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Mclean, we encourage you to reach out to us immediately. A member of our team will get in touch with you shortly.