Mastectomy – or masculinization of the torso – is one of the most common gender affirmation surgeries at GrS Montreal.
During the FTM or FTX (non-binary) transition process, genital surgery alone is often thought of whereas several surgical procedures are available, depending on what patient seeks. One of these procedures is mastectomy, also known as masculinization of the torso.
Why a Mastectomy?
While mastectomy is often associated with breast cancer, it can also be an important step in the transition for transgender people. By masculinizing the torso, there is an opportunity to truly change the silhouette of the patient for whom the body doesn’t match the mind. Mastectomy, therefore, can profoundly improve self-esteem by allowing the person to feel better about their body. We note a significant decrease in gender dysphoria.
Two Different Methods
There are two techniques to perform a mastectomy, a decision that will be made by the surgeon based on the patient’s amount of breast tissue and glands.
The first is called a subcutaneous or periareolar mastectomy and it may be performed on a patient with less breast tissue. It consists of extracting the mammary glands through small and discreet incisions made at the bottom of the nipples and then closed. This method leaves less visible scars but is not possible for everyone.
The second, bilateral double incisions mastectomy with nipple grafting, is for patients with a higher amount of breast glands and breast tissue. This technique first involves the removing of the entire nipple and then the removing of the tissue and glands through a subpectoral incision. The nipple, reduced if necessary, is then attached to the natural location of a male nipple.
Advice and Post-operative Care
As with all surgeries, mastectomy is more likely to be successful and will heal better on a healthy body. In preparation for the procedure, the patient is, therefore, advised to get in shape and lose weight if necessary. A high body mass index (BMI) makes healing more difficult, and obesity increases the risk of complications or infections. Smoking is also problematic and surgeons recommend that the patient stop smoking at least six weeks before the operation and eight weeks after.
After this procedure, which will lasts about two hours, it takes four to six weeks to recover. The patient will be able to resume their physical activities six to eight weeks after the procedure. However, it is expected to take nine to twelve months for the tissues to stabilize. For more information, consult your surgeon.