Prevalence and types of gender-affirming surgery among a sample of transgender endocrinology patients prior to state expansion of insurance coverage

Maya Kailas, Hsun Ming Simon Lu, Emily F. Rothman, Joshua D. Safer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Transgender individuals now have many options for medical intervention, including gender-affirmation surgeries. However, it is unknown how common it is for transgender individuals to undergo these surgeries. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence of gender-affirming surgeries among transgender patients in 2015, which was immediately prior to insurance changes that made gender-affirming surgery more affordable for Massachusetts residents. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 99 transgender patients was performed at the Endocrinology Clinic at Boston Medical Center, an urban safety net hospital. The records for 99 transgender subjects who received treatment between 2004-2015, including 28 transmen and 71 transwomen, were examined. The outcome measures were the types of medical interventions chosen by transgender patients, which included hormone therapy, chest surgery, gonadectomy, genital surgery, and facial surgery. Results: Thirty-five percent of subjects had undergone at least one gender-affirming surgery. Transmen were more likely to have had surgery than transwomen (54% vs. 28%). Twenty-five percent of patients had chest surgery, 13% had genital surgery or gonadectomy, and 8% had facial surgery. Conclusion: In 2015, a majority of transgender endocrinology clinic patients had not undergone any type of gender-affirmation surgery. Among those who did elect to have a surgery, genital surgery or gonadectomy were uncommon. The low rate of surgery among this sample of transgender patients may be attributable to the financial cost, lack of interest in surgery, or that genital surgery is not a high priority for transgender individuals relative to surgery to change visible features such as face and chest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-786
Number of pages7
JournalEndocrine Practice
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

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