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Gender dysphoria, affects people of all ages. Many transgender and nonbinary patients note that they began experiencing gender dysphoria as young as seven. Experimenting with gender expression and questioning can all be part of the normal development process. However, in cisgender children, gender discomfort or dysphoria tends to go away by puberty. Though, in gender non-conforming children, gender dysphoria often worsens at puberty. In some cases, gender affirmation procedures may be warranted, even while the patient is still a minor. Dr. Javad Sajan of Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery provides the best FTM top surgery for minors Arizona patients can access.
What Is FTM Top Surgery?
Female-to-male top surgery—or FTM top surgery—is a gender affirmation procedure that removes the breasts of a person assigned female at birth. The surgery then sculpts the chest to look more masculine or flat based on the patient’s preferences. Usually, FTM top surgery requires two horizontal incisions on each side of the chest; however, some patients may be able to achieve their desired chest with only liposuction or small incisions around the nipples.
The surgery helps alleviate gender dysphoria associated with the chest. While it is most frequently performed on adults, some patients under 18 may also benefit from top surgery. Recently, legislation has blocked or severely impeded minors from receiving necessary gender affirming surgery—namely top surgery—in Arizona.
Thankfully, Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery in Seattle, WA is only a short flight away. Dr. Javad Sajan is world renowned for his FTM top surgery expertise and results.
Requirements For Minor Top Surgery Patients
The requirements to get top surgery—for both adults and minors—may vary by state, surgeon, and insurance company. In most cases, patients under 18 must provide additional documentation. This may include:
- Formal gender dysphoria diagnosis from a qualified mental health professional
- Letter of support from a mental health professional
- Parental consent
- Patients have socially lived in their preferred gender identity for at least one year
- Have been on hormone therapy for at least one year (Dr. Sajan does not require this, but some practices and surgeons do)
Some insurance companies also have additional requirements outside of the surgeon or practice. They usually require this documentation before surgery and before they will pay for surgery. Patients are encouraged to inquire about insurance coverage and requirements prior to surgery. Allure Esthetic also has a team of insurance coordinators who can help patients communicate with their insurance and work on getting the surgery covered.
Benefits & Risks
Minor FTM top surgery comes with select benefits and risks like any other surgical procedure. Dr. Sajan helps patients and their parents weigh the benefits and risks to make an informed decision about whether top surgery is appropriate for the patient. If the patient is relatively healthy, can make an informed decision, and understands the full scope of the procedure, they are likely a candidate for gender affirming care.
The benefits of FTM top surgery for minors may include:
- Treat gender dysphoria
- Prevent injury from incorrect or frequent binding
- Allows patients to wear clothing without binding
- Fewer instances of misgendering
- Live more visibly and easily in their gender identity
- Improve the quality of life
- Minor patients may be good candidates for less invasive types of top surgery
- Better mental health and well being
- Minimal risk
- Permanent results
- Short surgery time
- Well tolerated recovery
- Performed to the World Professional Association For Transgender Health’s standards
As a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia, FTM top surgery does come with some risks. For most patients, the risk of top surgery is low, but it should be considered by the patient and Dr. Sajan before proceeding with surgery. The risks of FTM top surgery for minors may include:
- Complications associated with anesthesia
- Visible or raised scarring
- Loss of nipple sensation
- Skin necrosis
- Fluid collection
Major complications or long term effects are exceptionally rare with FTM top surgery performed on both minors and adults. It has one of the highest satisfaction rates among elective surgeries.
Traveling To Seattle For FTM Top Surgery For Minors
For the consultation appointment, Dr. Sajan can meet with patients virtually over FaceTime or Skype. Though, patients from out of town are always welcome for in-person visits as well. At this appointment, patients will review their gender dysphoria and goals for surgery. Dr. Sajan will also review the patient’s medical history to ensure the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.
Finally, Dr. Sajan will physically examine the patient to help determine what the ideal top surgery technique is best. The patient can also discuss the options and choices such as incision shape and nipples or no nipples. If applicable, patients will also receive a price quote, financing options, and insurance information.
Beyond the general surgery preparations, patients traveling from Arizona to Seattle for minor FTM top surgery will need to make various arrangements. Dr. Sajan prefers that patients stay at least one week after surgery to ensure good healing, and so he can remove nipple bolsters.
Allure Esthetic offers concierge services to help make this process seamless. Our office offers discount codes at certain local hotels and has relationships with transportation and caregiving companies. The Allure Esthetic team can also provide insight into the type of clothing to pack based on the recovery process.
Otherwise, patients are encouraged to make arrangements at home. Childcare and time off work or school are also important logistics to work out before surgery.
Days Of & Following Surgery
Patients are asked to stop eating and drinking the night before or morning of surgery. Once a patient checks in for surgery, the Allure Esthetic team will take vitals and run basic tests to ensure the patient is fit for surgery on that particular day. Next, the patient will meet with Dr. Sajan who will review the surgery plan and make the necessary surgical markings. Finally, patients are placed under general anesthesia.
The most common type of FTM top surgery is called a double incision chest reconstruction. With this technique, Dr. Sajan uses two incisions—one on either side of the chest—to remove the breast and glandular tissue. If desired, Dr. Sajan will place the nipples back onto the chest into the proper position to match the proportions of the patient's new chest. The procedure usually takes around an hour.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Symptoms Of Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is defined as a group of symptoms related to feeling an incongruence between the body and the gender assigned at birth. It can look slightly different between patients and may be caused by different areas of the body. There is also a large range of severity. Not every transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming person will experience gender dysphoria or who does not feel the need to physically transition.
The symptoms of gender dysphoria may include:
- The desire to be treated as another gender
- Wanting to get rid of or prevent the development of the genitals
- The desire to have the body, genitals, or other features of another gender
- Discomfort with gender roles placed upon them
- Wearing or wanting to wear the clothes, makeup, or roleplay as another gender
- Intense distress
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. However, it can cause or worsen mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. As mentioned, not all patients will experience gender dysphoria to this extent, but Dr. Sajan understands how denying minors necessary healthcare can put their lives at risk.
What Age Is Best For Top Surgery?
There is not one “best” age to undergo top surgery. To determine the right time for FTM top surgery, Dr. Sajan may consider factors like:
- Severity and frequency of gender dysphoria
- Development of the breasts
- Patient’s mental constitution
- Parental support
- Patient’s medical history and current medications
- Day-to-day difficulties
- Any potential interference with school or other necessary activities
How Painful Is Top Surgery?
Top surgery often is not too painful. During surgery, patients are under general anesthesia. Thus, they remain perfectly comfortable. Dr. Sajan also uses a long-acting anesthetic that reduces the pain for the rest of the day so patients can rest and sleep comfortably on the first day of recovery. It is not uncommon for patients to not use prescription pain medications.
Can Minors Get Other Gender Confirming Surgeries?
In some cases, potentially, but most of the time, no. Gender affirming surgeries that alter the genitals or face are not done until adulthood because they have much larger ramifications than top surgery. Also, these areas are normally not fully developed; therefore, their appearance could still change after surgery. Dr. Sajan only offers patients under 18, FTM top surgery.
How Much Is FTM Top Surgery For Minors In Arizona?
The starting out-of-pocket cost for FTM top surgery for minors is $8,500. However, Dr. Sajan accepts all private insurance and can work with out-of-state insurance. Patients are encouraged to inquire about their insurance plan’s coverage of transgender procedures before the consultation. Outside financing is also an option.
The Best Transgender Top Surgery For Minors
Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery is a plastic surgery practice in Seattle, WA, renowned for offering high quality gender affirming surgery. Following WPATH standards and working individually with each patient, Dr. Sajan crafts a custom plan for each patient. The entire Allure team is trained to use proper names and pronouns as well as provide a safe space for people of all genders. Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery offers the best FTM top surgery for minors Arizona patients have access to.