Gender reassignment surgery (GRS), also known as sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or gender-affirming surgery, can have several potential side effects and complications, as with any major surgical procedure. It’s crucial to note that while complications are possible, many individuals undergo these surgeries without significant issues and are satisfied with the results. Below are some potential side effects and complications for both male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) surgeries:
MTF (Male-to-Female) Surgery Side Effects and Complications:
- Vaginal Stenosis: Narrowing or closure of the neo-vagina, often due to inadequate dilation.
- Necrosis: Tissue death, typically in the skin or vaginal lining.
- Fistula Formation: An abnormal connection between the vagina and rectum or bladder.
- Granulation Tissue: Overgrowth of tissue in the vaginal canal, which might require treatment.
- Chronic Pain: Some may experience prolonged pain or discomfort.
- Decreased Sexual Sensation: Some individuals might experience reduced sexual pleasure.
- Vaginal Dryness: May require lubrication, especially during sexual activity.
- Breast Augmentation:
- Capsular Contracture: Hardening around the implant, leading to pain and deformation.
- Implant Leakage or Rupture.
- Asymmetry: Unequal size or position of the breasts.
FTM (Female-to-Male) Surgery Side Effects and Complications:
- Mastectomy (Top Surgery):
- Scarring: While incisions are made to minimize visibility, scars can still be prominent for some.
- Loss of Nipple Sensation.
- Nipple Necrosis: Especially if the nipples are resized and repositioned.
- Asymmetry: Unequal chest appearance.
- Phalloplasty or Metoidioplasty:
- Urinary Complications: Including fistulas (abnormal connections), strictures (narrowing), or urinary infections.
- Erectile Implant Complications: If an implant is used to achieve erections, there’s a risk of malfunction, infection, or erosion.
- Necrosis: Particularly in phalloplasty where tissue is grafted to create the neo-phallus.
- Loss of Sensation: Especially in the early stages post-surgery.
- Chronic Pain.
General Side Effects and Complications:
- Anesthetic Risks: As with any surgery requiring anesthesia.
- Blood Clots: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism.
- Delayed Wound Healing.
- Emotional or Psychological Challenges: Including post-operative depression or feelings of regret, though many individuals report significant relief and satisfaction post-surgery.
It’s essential for anyone considering gender reassignment surgery to have detailed discussions with their surgical team about potential risks, side effects, and post-operative care. Proper preparation, realistic expectations, and adherence to post-operative instructions can help mitigate many of these potential complications.