Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)

What is SRS?

Sex reassignment surgery (SRS) — also known as gender reassignment surgery (GRS) — is the medical procedure whereby a transgender person can change both the function and the appearance of his or her sexual characteristics so that they operate like those of their identified sex. Transgender people who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria use sex reassignment surgery as part of their treatment protocol.

The term “sex reassignment surgery” (SRS) is a large umbrella over a wide variety of procedures and techniques that help people change from their biological gender to the one with which they identify. While the most commonly known of these procedures change the shape of the genitals, these procedures do everything from change the shape of a person’s forehead to the contour of a person’s chest. Genital reassignment surgery, also known as bottom surgery (because it affects the bottom half of the body), is what most people associate with sex reassignment, though. However, any surgical treatment that is part of a treatment for gender dysphoria is considered to fall under this umbrella.

Trans women (people transitioning from male to female, or MTF) undergo a different set of surgical options than those that are available to people transitioning from female to male, or FTM — also known as trans men. If trans women choose to undergo genital reconstruction, they generally have a vagina made from the inversion of their penis or through the conversion of a part of their colon into vaginal lining. If trans men want to change their genitals, the process generally involves the use of metoidioplasty to change their clitoris into a phallus or phalloplasty to use prosthetics and skin grafts to build a phallus. Depending on the physiology of the patient, other procedures may become necessary, such as a mastectomy to remove the breasts or a vaginectomy to take out the vagina.

Within the medical profession, sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is still a fairly new practice. It dates back to 1931, when a Berlin procedure transformed Rudolph R. to Dora R., after the first recorded vaginoplasty. She was quickly followed by Lili Elbe, who underwent a total of five different procedures during her gender reassignment.

In 2003, a German trans woman filed a case with the European Court of Human Rights when her medical insurer refused to reimburse her for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and hormone replacement therapy. Her argument was that the insurer was discriminating against her as a trans woman. The court upheld her claim and ordered the insurer to honor her claims.

Because every transgender person has a unique perspective about his or her sexual identity, the surgical procedures that make up each patient’s transformation can differ. Some MTF patients want to have an actual vagina, while others do not need it in order to feel that they have transformed, as such options as breast and buttock augmentation, along with facial feminization surgery, accomplish what they were hoping for with their reassignment. Some FTM patients insist on having their ovaries removed because even having female reproductive organs in their body keeps them from feeling like a man. Testosterone therapy does stop menstruation and makes conception impossible, but many patients still want their ovaries taken out as a sign that the transition has taken place.

Because so many different surgical scenarios are possible, it is important for each patient to find a practitioner whom he or she can trust and build a sense of rapport. The sex reassignment surgery (SRS) process is a lengthy one, and it involves emotions and sexuality in addition to the physical factors. This is where using can make the difference between a rewarding experience and a frustrating one. This process changes the way the body looks and functions in a number of ways and even leads to a new identity. The site has helped many people find a doctor that makes them comfortable and also has the skill to bring about their transition more successfully than they had ever thought possible.

For more information, click here to search for a gender reassignment surgeon.