Little “buyer’s remorse” requesting reverse surgery
by Dr. Sherman Leis
Many today are pushing the meme that there is a growing number of people who have experienced gender reassignment surgery and now want to reverse that surgery. Labeled “buyer’s remorse,” the story is told where “numerous” transitioned transgender people want their natal genitals back.
As a plastic surgeon who also performs gender reassignment surgery, I’m skeptical of those stories because I have seen so few requests for reversal surgery over decades as a specialist to the transgender community.
I have seen little so-called regret about gender reassignment surgeries throughout my career because being transgender is not a fad or a fetish. Transgender people present as they are. They present as one gender in the physical body of the other gender. If anything, I’ve occasionally seen remorse over poorly done surgeries and patients seeking my help to improve them.
In fact, after over nearly 40 years in practice, I have seen only two reversal cases out of thousands.
I believe the reason there is such a low incidence of remorse is that patients who want to have gender reassignment transgender surgery are first and foremost, truly transgender people.
Additionally, prospective transgender surgery patients must first pass a stringent protocol of prerequisites before they are medically and psychologically cleared for bottom surgery. This process must include recommendations from two mental health specialists attesting to an individual’s gender dysphoria, prolonged hormone treatment, emotional stability, time before surgery presenting in one’s true gender, and overall good mental and physical health.
Virtually all American transgender surgeons subscribe to this protocol. This practice ensures that patients are not only transgender people but that they have considered and understand the changes and risks associated with transitioning surgery.
The transitioning process takes mental determination, years to accomplish and significant financial resources or a good health insurance policy. Transitioning is not an experience that someone just wakes up and does on a whim, which is why I am very skeptical about the number of stories of so-called “buyer’s remorse” that are popping up all of the sudden.
Most transgender people are very private people who just want to get along in society without the stress of their gender dysphoria. Unlike the celebrity cases like Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono, virtually every case I have had, the person just wants to resume a “normal” life, living in gender balance.
I have always enjoyed performing surgery on transgender people because it brings personal peace and harmony to many people. Their newly found equilibrium is not something that anyone would want to reverse.
Dr. Leis is the founder of The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, located in Bala Cynwyd, PA.
The Gayly 1/17/2018 @ 10:05 a.m.