Surgery for everybody is different… and I don’t just mean recovery times. Some people want FFS, some want SRS, some want body sculpting, some want…. everything!
Surgery is a long and expensive process that can be traumatic for some and a kiss of life for others. All that you read about surgery will only prepare you 60% of what you will go through and there is scant info out there for partners.
It is sad and amazing when people that you love change. I still sometimes miss the face of my partner. Her old nose, her old chin that I don’t think needed work…. but I love her tits and that’s ok. I love her because she is her. I guess I have said this before but I never thought I about how I would react to her FFS. For me it was terrible. I cried the entire time and was heartbroken. I never thought I would react like that. It is so irreversible and the swelling was so horrible and she was so helpless. I was so angry and sad for at least 6 weeks post op. But her surgery went fantastically and so did her other surgeries. I couldn’t be happier for her!
Choosing a surgeon was super hard. It is so individual. Ask questions on boards and you will get a hundred different answers! Ideally your partner should just go with what she likes the look of best.
After taking hormones for about 2-4 months your partner will start to develop breasts. Breast size and shape depends on age of transition, level of body fat and family genetics. Some people will only develop very small breasts and others will develop something bigger e.g. a small C cup. Some breasts will look natural and others ‘slightly odd’ i.e. too small for the frame or the dreaded ‘tube boob’. Often the areola and nipples will become puffy and grow in size and sometimes they will stay the same; again age and genetics are important.
Breast surgery is not for everyone and often breasts can end up looking really fake. A good surgeon will consider your current breast size, build, long term weight goals overall physique and aesthetic preferences. Incisions can be made in the armpit, under the breast or through the nipple and will depend on the preference of the surgeon. Usually a silicone insert is used and pushed under the chest muscles. Yes, you can feel the implants and they are a bit weird! The breasts are more perky but after a couple of years the implants are less noticeable. Large implants will generally be more noticeable under the skin and more likely to cause stretch marks. More does not always equal better.
Breast surgery can cost anything from $2-10000 dollars and may be done in conjunction with FFS or body sculpting. Chose a reputable surgeon and aim to spend around $6000. Recovery time is 1-3 days in hospital and then the usual rest and recuperation.
Feet and Hands
My partner has had foot shrinkage. I think it is the combined weight-loss and hormones. A non trans friend of mine also dropped a shoe size from losing weight. My partner told her endocrinologist about it and the endo said “it is not unheard of” but don’t put bets on it. It is not outside the realms of possibility.
Bum and Hips
Fatty deposits will increase around the bum and hips. It takes a while and again, depends on age and genetics. Results can be seen around 4-6 months. Full results may not be seen until after SRS.
Some people with ‘unsatisfactory’ results from hormones will have a surgical procedure called a ‘Brazilian butt lift’, where large amounts of fat are removed from ones stomach and then injected back into the bum and thighs. This procedure works well and is often done in association with ‘body sculpting’.
Like any liposuction procedure it comes with its dangers and the results are dependent on the quality and expertise of the surgeon. Try websites like http://www.realself.com for examples. There is often a lot of bruising, swelling, some scarring and at least a 1.5-2 week recovery time.
Penises and Erections
In general it is common that the penis shrinks and erections can be very difficult if not impossible to maintain. So if you love cock you may need to work on this aspect of your relationship.
A significant number of people gain weight when transitioning. Try and avoid this for health reasons as much as anything. Weight loss hasn’t impacted on the fat redistribution on my partner. Hips, bum and breasts are coming along nicely.
My partner’s endocrinologist said that weight loss would not jeopardize fat redistribution.
Height and shoulders
I am 5’10” and my partner 6′. My ex girlfriend was 6′ too. If your partner is over 6′ then I understand that can be really difficult. Most people are not that tall though. Shoulder width diminishes with hormones and weight loss. Height and shoulders can be covered up with good clothes.
There are crazy surgeries out there for shortening legs and that sort of thing, but it is not worth it, rare and risky. Accept the height you have and tailor clothing accordingly.
Along with SRS, FFS is one of the most decisive surgeries. It is full on and life changing. FFS is ‘facial feminization surgery’. A surgeon recontours the face- nose, cheeks, brow, lips, chin, jawline, and hairline, to achieve a more feminine appearance. Some people will only undergo a ‘nose job’ and others will do everything. It depends on finances and aesthetics. No one surgeon does everything perfectly and it is important to remember this.
FFS will cost $22-40,000 depending on how much you have done and by whom. A nose job may only cost $6-10,000. There are several surgeons to chose from, each with their own pros and cons. Go for aesthetics, facilities and feedback from others. Initial recovery time is roughly 14 days and can be really rough- no food, hard to sleep, facial swelling. It takes 6-12 months for the swelling to go down.
Some people feel this surgery is necessary for passing and is more life changing and important that SRS. It should only be performed after around 18months of hormones. This is to ensure that facial fat redistribution from hormones has taken place.
A personal and intimate choice for your partner and you (if you get a say!). There are many reputable surgeons out there so read up on Susans Place and other forums for information.
The main SRS/ GRS surgeons are found in Thailand, US and Canada. Each surgeon has his or her “own” surgical technique but essentially most of the results are the same (expect when things go wrong of course).
As a partner you will probably have all the same questions as the person undergoing the operation. I will try to address some of these as best I can….
Q. What will it look like??- A. Every natal woman is different and post surgery pussy is no different. It depends on the surgeon and what he/ she has to work with. The clitoris will not look “quite” the same and sometimes the labia can be a bit different, but generally speaking the scars kind of disappear and it isn’t outside normal natal female variation.
Q. What is involved with the surgery?- A. Each surgeon has a slightly different technique for example some use ‘penile inversion’ whilst another might use the scrotal sack. The patient will be admitted to the hospital the night before with the usual no food/ water rule. The patient must shave completely (so bring a good razor) and also have an enema (self or nurse administered). The surgery shouldn’t take anymore than 2.5 hours. A stent or packing is put inside the vaginal cavity, everything is stitched up and usually a cool pack is applied to prevent swelling. Each Dr will have his/ her own post op instructions. Initial recovery takes 10 days and travel is allowed on the 10/11th day post op. There will be scabs and stitches and it isn’t pretty. Allow a minimum of 4 weeks recovery. A memory foam neck pillow is really good for post op sitting.
Q. How often do things go wrong? – A. It depends on the surgeon but ‘generally speaking for reputable surgeons it is something like this: 70% of patients will have no complications. 20-30% will have minor complications that can range from necrosis, revision, infection, bleeding etc. and can be dealt with easily in the first weeks post-op if help is sort ASAP. 5% will have a major complication. No one has ever died from SRS. 70-90% of people will be orgasmic post op depending on the surgeon. Complications do not mean no orgasm, they are two separate things. Where do I get these figures from?- Dr Suporn releases his own figures and talking to other people and asking at clinics.
Q. How does my partner choose a surgeon? A. Generally you pay for what you get. If you are full-fee paying and it costs less than 15,000 don’t expect much. Choose a reputable surgeon with good results. Plan to spend around $20-22,000. Each surgeon offers different things AND can have very different results. Well endowed people are advised not to go to Dr S as his technique isn’t the best for this. Dr Meltzer (US) has a two step procedure which means two surgeries and two lots of pain. Read forums, find out what’s on offer.
Q. Why do some people regret surgery? A. Lots of reasons but the main ones I have seen are 1. Not actually being transgender but gender queer and feeling like SRS was ‘pushed’ so that she/ he was accepted gender binary. DON”T rush into SRS. 2. Realising that SRS didn’t change how people see you, particularly if passing is an issue. SRS won’t change how people see you socially or sexually. It is just something for you (and partner). 3. Not understanding female anatomy and not bothering to learn before SRS. I have read of a few gay guys who were never exposed to female anatomy and never bothered to learn either through lack of opportunity or “ewww” factor. Either way, they hated the reality of post op because they didn’t understand what they were getting.
Things to remember: No sex for a minimum of 3-6 months. Follow the Drs instructions post op. Bad smells= infection. Fever= infection. Be clean. No heavy lifting. It will take at least 4 weeks to recover. Choose a good surgeon.
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