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Postoperative trans women in sexual health clinics: managing common problems after vaginoplasty
  1. Tara Suchak1,
  2. Jane Hussey2,
  3. Manjit Takhar3,
  4. James Bellringer4
  1. 1Post-CCT Fellow, Sexual Health, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland, UK
  2. 2Consultant, Genitourinary Medicine, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland, UK
  3. 3Clinical Nurse Specialist, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Gender Reassignment Surgeon, Parkside Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jane Hussey, Genitourinary Medicine Department, City Hospitals Sunderland, Kayll Road, Sunderland SR4 7TP, UK; Jane.Hussey{at}chsft.nhs.uk

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Background

UK figures estimate that in 1998 there were 3170 people over the age of 15 years assigned as male at birth who had presented with gender dysphoria. This figure is comparable to that found in the Netherlands where 2440 have presented;1 however, far fewer people actually undergo sex reassignment surgery. Recent statistics from the Netherlands indicate that about 1 in 12 000 natal males undergo sex-reassignment and about 1 in 34 000 natal females.2 Since April 2013, English gender identity services have been among the specialised services commissioned centrally by NHS England and this body is therefore responsible for commissioning transgender surgical services.

The growth in the incidence of revealed gender dysphoria amongst both young and adult people has major implications for commissioners and providers of public services. The present annual requirement is 480 genital and gonadal male-to-female reassignment procedures. There are currently three units in the UK offering this surgery for National Health Service (NHS) patients. Prior to surgery trans women will have had extensive evaluation, including blood tests, advice on smoking, alcohol and obesity, and psychological/psychiatric evaluation. They usually begin to take female hormones after 3 months of transition, aiming to encourage development of breast buds and alter muscle and fat distribution. Some patients may elect at this stage to have breast surgery. Before genital surgery can be considered the patient must have demonstrated they have lived for 1 year full-time as a woman. Figure 1 shows a typical post-surgical result.

Figure 1

Photograph illustrating the typical results of male-to-female reassignment genital surgery.

A trans person who has lived exclusively in their identified gender for at least 2 years (as required by the Gender Recognition Act 2004) can apply for a …

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