Gender reassignment surgery, also known as gender-affirming surgery or sex reassignment surgery, can involve various surgical procedures that modify the body to align with an individual’s gender identity. As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications.

The specific complications will depend on the type of surgery (e.g., vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, chest surgery, etc.), but here are some general potential complications for the more common surgeries:

Vaginoplasty (Creation of a Neovagina):

  1. Wound separation or dehiscence: This refers to the separation of the wound edges after they’ve been sutured together.
  2. Vaginal stenosis: This is a narrowing of the vaginal canal, which can make dilation or penetrative intercourse difficult.
  3. Vaginal prolapse: The inner walls of the neovagina can protrude out of the vaginal opening.
  4. Rectovaginal or vesicovaginal fistula: This is an abnormal connection between the neovagina and the rectum or bladder, leading to leakage of feces or urine into the vagina.
  5. Granulation tissue: Overproduction of tissue in the surgical area, which might require treatment.
  6. Loss of depth or width of the neovagina: Can make dilation or penetrative intercourse challenging.
  7. Necrosis or tissue death: Often seen in the skin or the newly constructed clitoris.

Phalloplasty (Creation of a Neophallus):

  1. Flap failure: When the transferred tissue (often from the arm, leg, or back) doesn’t receive enough blood and starts to die.
  2. Urethral complications: Including fistulas (holes in the urethra) or strictures (narrowing of the urethra).
  3. Implant complications: If an erectile or testicular implant is used, it can malfunction, become infected, or migrate.
  4. Loss of sensation: Although nerve hook-ups are often done, full sensation in the neophallus isn’t guaranteed.

Chest Surgery (Top Surgery):

  1. Hematoma: Collection of blood in the surgical area.
  2. Seroma: Accumulation of clear fluid in the surgical area.
  3. Scarring: Although incisions are typically made to minimize visible scarring, all surgeries leave scars that can be prominent.
  4. Nipple complications: Including loss of the nipple graft or altered sensation.
  5. Asymmetry: The chest might not be perfectly symmetrical post-surgery.

General Surgical Complications:

  1. Infections: Can occur at the surgery site or systemically.
  2. Bleeding: Including hematomas.
  3. Scarring: Hypertrophic or keloid scars can develop.
  4. Adverse reactions to anesthesia: From mild allergic reactions to life-threatening complications.
  5. Blood clots: Deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism can occur, especially in surgeries with longer recovery periods.
  6. Chronic pain: Pain at the surgical site that persists longer than expected.

It’s essential to understand the risks associated with any surgery. Proper post-operative care, closely following surgeon instructions, and regular follow-up appointments can help identify and manage any complications early. Discussing potential risks and benefits with a knowledgeable surgeon will ensure that an informed decision is made regarding the procedure.