As you get closer to the surgery that will complete your male sex change, your surgeon (or a member of his staff) will give you a list of instructions to follow. As the day approaches, it’s important to follow these directions closely so that the procedure takes place safely and is as effective as possible. Here are some of the most common steps that male sex change patients have to follow in the days before the operation.
Before the surgery, many surgeons ask their patients to stop their androgen treatment or any other hormone replacement therapy about a month ahead of time. While the research in this area remains somewhat mixed, some surgeons believe that the hormone treatment can interfere with the wound healing process.
Another common instruction is to stop smoking at least two weeks before the surgery — and to abstain for at least two weeks after the operation has ended. Research has confirmed links between smoking and interference with the healing process for wounds. Also, patients who smoke tend to need oxygen intervention more often, and smoking can also interfere with the anesthesia. Aspirins, ibuprofen and vitamins C and E can all thin the blood, which can cause complications with stopping the bleeding.
It is also important for the digestive system to be as clear as possible before a male sex change operation. Because of this, patients are not permitted to have any food on the day before the surgery but must only consume liquids. This also keeps intestinal complications related to the body’s response to anesthesia from causing harmful effects. Some surgeons also request that patients take a laxative the night before the operation to ease movement of stool out, as well as an enema the morning of the day of the surgery.
Patients should also not wear cosmetics or jewelry on the day of surgery as the hospital does not want responsibility for jewelry and the chemicals in cosmetics can compromise the hygiene of the operating room. In that vein, patients should shower right before the operation using a soap that will get rid of any sources of infection. Patients who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should bring a carrying case to hold them during the operation.
Many of these steps are important for people undergoing a wide variety of surgical procedures. Because of the risks of undergoing anesthesia and undergoing surgical incisions, patients who follow these steps before a male sex change operation face far fewer risks. If you have any questions about the instructions, it’s best to ask your doctor or nurse as soon as you start to wonder about it.
Finding a medical team whom you can trust goes a long way toward reducing stress leading up to the operation — and stress is often a factor in increasing the risk of complications. If you are still looking for the right surgeon to handle your male sex change surgery, visit our directory.
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