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In the last few years, gender affirming surgery for minors has become a much contested topic. Several states have banned the potentially life-saving procedure for minors and many seek to restrict it further. Having performed FTM top surgery for qualifying minors for years, Dr. Sajan understands the negative effects these laws will have on young people and their families. Dr. Javad Sajan at Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery in Seattle, WA, offers the best FTM top surgery for minors Utah patients can access.
Understanding FTM Top Surgery For Minors
Female-to-male top surgery is a gender-affirming procedure most commonly performed on people assigned female at birth who now identify as male, non-binary, or otherwise gender non-conforming. The surgery removes breast tissue to create a flatter and/or more masculine chest. It is usually a well-tolerated and successful procedure.
Adults can undergo the surgery in most places in the US without too much trouble. However, minors will likely run into more obstacles, and require more paperwork and documentation. Up until recently though, certain patients under 18 could undergo FTM top surgery with parental consent and the same documentation adult patients need. Now, in many places around the country, it is much more difficult for transgender and gender non-conforming youth to get the healthcare they need.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is the leading entity that advocates for transgender healthcare as well as sets standards for it. While their general guidelines also apply to minors, they do also have a few specific to people under 18. These include:
- Obtaining a gender dysphoria diagnosis from someone qualified and experienced in child or adolescent psychology
- Genital surgery is not performed before adulthood
- The patient should live within their new gender identity for at least one year
- If taking hormones, patients should take them for around a year before undergoing top surgery
In general, WPATH recommends that children, adolescents, and minors undergo reversible and non-surgical care. For example, patients may regularly see a mental health professional for their gender dysphoria. Additionally, allowing a child to make important social transitions such as changing their name or pronouns, wearing clothes aligned with their identity, and creating a supportive environment for the child. When a child starts puberty or is past puberty, hormone therapy is a treatment to consider. It is not required to undergo gender affirming FTM top surgery.
With that said, top surgery is often an appropriate treatment for some minors. Normally, top surgery is rarely considered an option until at least age 15. Most minors who undergo the surgery fall into the 16 or 17 age range.
WPATH acknowledges that exploration of gender and gender dysphoria can be part of the normal development process. With proper mental, physical, and social evaluation; however, Dr. Sajan and other providers can determine if top surgery is within the child’s best interest long term.
Benefits & Risks
Minor FTM top surgery can have many potential benefits. These advantages and benefits may include:
- Help treat and reduce gender dysphoria
- Allow patients to stop binding (which can cause physical harm if done incorrectly)
- Makes social transition easier
- Masculine clothing will fit better
- Overall better mental health and general well being
- Allows patients to be recognized as their proper gender identity
- Patients may be better candidates for less invasive types of top surgery such as keyhole top surgery
- Better quality of life
- Permanent results
- Relatively short surgery time
- Minimal recovery
- Few long term risks
All surgical procedures come with some level of risk. Dr. Sajan will help patients and their parents understand and prepare for these risks. He also individually evaluates each patient’s health, medical history, and goals. This helps Dr. Sajan determine if the patient is a good candidate for FTM top surgery as a minor.
While there are few major risks, some of the possible risks associated with the procedure include:
- Complications associated with general anesthesia
- Nipple loss or loss of nipple sensation
- Raised or unsightly scars
- Need for revision FTM surgery in the future
- Prolonged or severe side effects
FTM Top Surgery For Minors In Utah At Allure Esthetic
The first step patients must take when seeking top surgery is to attend a consultation with Dr. Sajan. This can be done in his Seattle office or virtually via Skype or FaceTime. Minors are required to have at least one parent present at the time of their consultation. Dr. Sajan will discuss the procedure and the requirements for surgery, such as a letter of support and formal gender dysphoria diagnosis. It is recommended that patients have made progress toward these necessities before the consultation.
Dr. Sajan will also present the options patients have for chest masculinization surgeries including the choice of whether to have nipples or not. Patients also have the chance to learn more about insurance and financing options.
Transgender Top Surgery
The top surgery is performed in one of Dr. Sajan’s Seattle surgery centers. Before surgery, Dr. Sajan will meet with patients to review the surgical plan, take measurements, and make surgical markings. The patient will then be placed under general anesthesia. Most FTM top surgery procedures take around an hour. However, depending on the amount of tissue that needs removed, it can take longer.
Patients go home the same day. Before the patient wakes up from surgery, they are placed in a compression garment. This will help control swelling and keep the patient comfortable during recovery. Dr. Sajan uses a long acting anesthetic that allows the patient to go home without too much post-operative pain.
Patients are often surprised by how easy the recovery process for top surgery is. However, Dr. Sajan requests that patients coming from Utah stay in the area for at least a week following surgery. At the one week post-operative appointment, the nipple bolsters are often removed. Dr. Sajan will clear patients for travel back to Utah.
A few instructions Dr. Sajan may provide for minors after FTM top surgery include:
- Avoid raising your arms
- Rest adequately
- Do not lift anything above five to ten pounds
- Avoid strenuous activities and exercise for at least two weeks
- Begin scar treatment early
- Do not expose the scars to the sun for several weeks
- Wear compression garment as Dr. Sajan advises
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Regret Rate Of Top Surgery?
The regret rate of top surgery—even among minor patients—is significantly lower than other elective surgeries. The regret rate is about 1%. In comparison, the average regret rate for elective, cosmetic surgeries is about 14.4%. Dr. Sajan carefully screens his patients to ensure they have a full understanding of the procedure and qualifies according to WPATH’s criteria.
What Is The Youngest Age You Can Get Top Surgery In The United States?
There is not one set age where FTM top surgery for minors can occur. However, it is usually done post puberty and rarely below the age of 15. Many insurance companies do not cover top surgery before 16, which is a significant consideration for many patients. Dr. Sajan can help patients determine when may be the appropriate time to seek top surgery.
Can Breast Tissue Grow Back After Top Surgery?
No, breast tissue cannot grow back after top surgery. Though, some fat and tissue is left behind during top surgery. This could see some natural growth or shrinkage due to weight changes, medications, or medical conditions. Significant changes are rare and the breasts will never grow back to their former size.
When Can I Return To Utah?
Dr. Sajan clears most patients to return to Utah one week after surgery. In certain circumstances, patients may leave earlier or stay longer depending on various circumstances.
Do You Take Out-Of-State Insurance?
Yes, Dr. Sajan and Allure Esthetic accepts all private insurances, including out-of-state insurance. Though, patients are encouraged to inquire about whether their plan covers gender affirming care before their consultation.
The Best Utah FTM Top Surgery For Minors At Allure Esthetic
Allure Esthetic is one of the country’s leading surgical centers for minor top surgery. Dr. Sajan works with transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming patients of a wide age range to determine their best course of care. He is a member of WPATH and follows their standards of care. Dr. Sajan is also one of the few surgeons that allows patients so many ways to customize their surgery. For example, he gives the patient say in their incision shape in the case of a double incision top surgery. Allure Esthetic provides the best FTM top surgery for minors Utah patients have available to them.
The entire Allure Esthetic office is curated to offer an affirming and welcoming experience for people of all gender identities. A patient’s preferred pronouns and name are always used. To learn more and schedule a consultation, call us at 206-209-0988. Patients can also reach out online via chat, contact form, or Price Simulator.