Regret after gender reassignment surgery is relatively rare. The rates of regret can vary in different studies, but they are generally estimated to be low, between 1-2%. Most people who undergo gender confirmation surgery report improved quality of life and reduced gender dysphoria symptoms.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that regret does happen for a small number of people. These feelings of regret can arise for a number of reasons:
- Unrealistic Expectations: Some people might have expectations that the surgery will solve all their problems. When this doesn’t happen, they might feel regret.
- Complications or Dissatisfaction with Results: Surgical complications, or dissatisfaction with the surgical outcomes or changes in sexual function, can lead to regret.
- Lack of Social Support or Increased Social Isolation: If friends, family, or community members are not supportive, or if the person experiences increased discrimination or difficulty after transitioning, they may regret the decision to have surgery.
- Change in Gender Identity: Though less common, some people’s understanding of their own gender might change after surgery, leading to regret.
This underscores the importance of comprehensive mental health support before, during, and after the decision to have surgery. It’s typically recommended (and often required) that individuals seeking gender reassignment surgery undergo a period of therapy and real-life experience living as their identified gender, to ensure they are making an informed decision about surgery and understand the potential implications.
For those who do experience regret, it’s important to seek support from healthcare providers, therapists, or support groups. Some changes can be reversed with additional medical intervention, but others cannot, so it’s essential to have thorough discussions with healthcare providers about the potential risks and benefits before making decisions about gender reassignment surgery.