What is Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS)?
A sex change (also known as Gender Reassignment Surgery – GRS – or Sex Reassignment Surgery – SRS) is the best way for people who identify as the opposite sex from their function and physical appearance to live the lives that they want, rather than having to remain trapped inside a body within which they don’t even feel at home. The majority of people identify sexually with their own bodies, but for those who don’t, life can be a frustrating experience as they feel like they lack the ability to express themselves emotionally, physically and sexually to the world around them. This procedure opens the doors for people to find and embrace their true identity.
The most commonly known Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) procedures change the shape of the genitals. According to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), this includes a wide range of procedures, such as a total hysterectomy, chest augmentation or reconstruction, bilateral mastectomy or prostheses in the breast areas. Genital reconstruction can take place by a number of different methods that have to be appropriate to the situation of each patient. In some situations, plastic facial reconstruction is necessary as well. Facial electrolysis is one non-surgical treatment that many gender reassignment surgery patients undergo as part of their transition.
For trans women (MTF), surgery generally involves genital reconstruction in the form of vaginal construction. This often takes place through the inversion of the penis or a technique known as the Sigmoid Colon Neo Vagina. In the case of trans men (FTM), genital reconstruction often involves the building of a penis with metoidioplasty or phalloplasty. It is important to remember that these reconstruction procedures are often accompanied by a variety of procedures designed to complete the aesthetic transformation from one gender to the other.
Historically, medical insurance plans would not cover the costs of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS). However, over the past few years, more and more commercial and public health insurance carriers within the United States now offer specific benefits about these types of procedures. Most commonly, the coverage includes genital reconstruction surgery (both FTM and MTF), augmentation of the breasts (MTF), reconstruction of the chest (FTM) as well as hysterectomy (FTM). The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association released a statement in 2008 indicating that denying coverage for gender reassignment surgery to patients suffering from gender dysphoria (the technical term for those who do not identify with the gender of the body that they have) is a form of discrimination. WPATH, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychological Association have released statements to the same effect.
As cultural attitudes continue to moderate toward the idea of Gender Reassignment Surgery, more and more alternatives are becoming available for people who feel like prisoners in their own bodies. Historically, it was difficult for people to find treatment in facilities that were medically safe, because of the social taboos in place about gender reassignment. Now, though, it is becoming easier to find a local provider that performs gender reassignment surgery. These providers are licensed medical professionals and will provide you with the utmost in terms of quality care. They will talk you through every step of the operation — and give you options as to the different procedures that will make up an optimal transformation for you.
Every person is different, and bringing patients from where they are at the beginning of their journey to the end involves a unique series of steps for each individual.