Dilation is a necessary part of the recovery process after gender-affirming surgery for transgender women who have undergone vaginoplasty. Dilation helps to keep the vagina open and prevents it from shrinking or closing.

The frequency of dilation will vary depending on the individual’s needs and the surgeon’s instructions. However, most people will need to dilate several times a day for the first few months after surgery. As time goes on, the frequency of dilation can be reduced.

There are a number of different dilators available, and the surgeon will typically recommend a set of dilators that are appropriate for the individual’s needs. Dilators are typically made of silicone or plastic, and they come in a variety of sizes.

The process of dilation can be uncomfortable at first, but it should not be painful. If you experience pain, you should stop dilating and talk to your surgeon.

Here are some tips for dilating after gender surgery:
⦁ Use a water-based lubricant to make dilation easier.
⦁ Start with the smallest dilator and gradually work your way up to the larger dilators.
⦁ Dilate in a comfortable position, such as lying on your back or sitting on the edge of the bed.
⦁ Take your time and relax during dilation.
⦁ If you experience pain, stop dilating and talk to your surgeon.

Dilation is an important part of the recovery process after gender-affirming surgery. By following your surgeon’s instructions and taking your time, you can help to ensure that your vagina heals properly and remains open.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
⦁ The Gender Affirming Health Program at UCSF: https://transcare.ucsf.edu/guidelines/vaginoplasty
⦁ The London Transgender Clinic: https://www.thelondontransgenderclinic.uk/general/how-does-dilation-work-after-gender-confirmation-surgery/
⦁ The TransHealth website: https://transhealth.ucsf.edu/

Dilating is a common post-operative procedure for individuals who have undergone certain types of gender-affirming surgeries, such as vaginoplasty (for male-to-female) or phalloplasty/metoidioplasty (for female-to-male). The purpose of dilation is to prevent the closure or narrowing of the surgical site and to maintain its depth and width.

Here are some key points to consider regarding dilation after gender surgery:
⦁ Vaginoplasty (MTF): After vaginoplasty, the neovagina (created vagina) needs regular dilation to prevent contraction or stenosis. The dilation process typically involves the use of dilators, which are cylindrical devices of varying sizes. The dilators are inserted into the neovagina and held in place for a specified amount of time, gradually increasing in size over time. The frequency and duration of dilation sessions can vary depending on the surgeon’s instructions, but it is often recommended multiple times a day in the early stages and gradually reduced over time.
⦁ Phalloplasty/Metoidioplasty (FTM): For individuals who have undergone phalloplasty or metoidioplasty, dilation is often recommended to prevent the narrowing or contraction of the urethra, which can occur due to scar tissue formation. Dilation involves inserting a device (such as a catheter or dilator) into the reconstructed urethra to maintain its patency and prevent strictures. The frequency and duration of dilation sessions can vary depending on the surgeon’s instructions and the specific surgical technique used.

It’s important to note that the specific dilation protocols and recommendations can vary among surgeons and depend on the individual’s surgical technique, healing progress, and unique circumstances. It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by your surgical team regarding the timing, frequency, and duration of dilation sessions. Regular follow-up visits with your surgeon are essential to monitor healing progress, address any concerns, and receive guidance on proper dilation techniques.

Dilation can be an important part of the post-operative care and long-term maintenance of the surgical site. It is recommended to have open communication with your surgical team, ask any questions you may have, and seek support from healthcare professionals experienced in transgender surgery to ensure that you are following the appropriate dilation regimen for your specific procedure and to address any concerns or difficulties you may encounter.