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Transgender Medicine and Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions

Download: The Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Boston Medical Center FAQs (PDF)

What services does BMC’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery include?

At BMC, we have been providing compassionate, thoughtful and comprehensive care to members of the transgender community for many years. Current trans-specific services include adolescent services, adult primary care, mental health support, facial feminization surgery (for trans women), chest reconstruction (“top”) surgery (for trans men and for trans women), genital reconstruction surgery (for trans women), dermatology, gynecology, urology, and infectious diseases.

What are the medical indications that lead to genital reconstruction surgery for transgender patients?

Neovaginoplasty is medically indicated for transgender patients as part of their program to match physical characteristics to gender identity. Typically, the patient must have undergone at least 12 months of hormone therapy under the care of a licensed clinician and must have lived for at least 12 months in their preferred gender role.

Who is eligible for genital reconstruction surgery?

The patient’s medical and mental health history along with appropriate diagnostic results will be reviewed by our transgender surgery panel to determine whether the patient is an appropriate surgical candidate. The panel membership is currently comprised of physicians from Endocrine and Surgery as well as representatives from Nursing, Behavioral Health, and our project coordinator. The criteria for eligibility include the following:

  • The patient is at least 18 years of age
  • The patient is transgender/gender incongruent
  • The gender identity has been expressed for at least 12 months

How long does genital reconstruction surgery take, and is it all done in one surgery or multiple surgeries?

Orchiectomy, neovaginoplasty, and labiaplasty are completed in one procedure, which takes approximately five to six hours. However, some patients may need additional procedures.

What should patients expect after the surgery?

Following the neovaginoplasty, patients will be required to stay in the hospital for approximately four-five days. Other than the routine follow-up for surgical patients, patients will continue being followed by their primary care provider and/or endocrinologist. While each case is different, patients can generally get back to a full, active life after approximately eight weeks.

Does insurance cover gender affirmation surgeries for transgender patients?

These surgeries have been recognized by national clinical bodies and in 2014 Massachusetts mandated that state insurance carriers cover transgender medical care including surgery, when it is medically indicated.

Download more information about transgender surgery below.