What’s Involved in ‘Top Surgery’ for Transgender People?

Transgender (or ‘trans’) people — those whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth — can experience gender dysphoria, defined as the psychological distress that results from the conflict between one’s assigned gender and one’s gender identity. Some choose to affirm their gender identity by altering their physical appearance. Given that breasts are associated with female bodies, transgender people sometimes choose to alter their breasts in order to align the way their bodies look and feel with the gender which with they identify. 

An operation that changes the look of a trans person’s chest is oftentimes referred to as ‘top surgery’ and is best performed by an experienced plastic surgeon. Muskegon Surgical Associates’ expert surgeons and staff offer top surgery in the comfort and privacy of our on-site Pure Surgical Center. 

Transmasculine and Transfeminine Top Surgeries
Trans men (those people assigned to be female at birth who identify as male), may choose to have their breasts removed or reduced significantly in size, while trans women (those assigned male at birth but identifying as female) may choose to have breast augmentation surgery for a fuller figure. 

Transmasculine top surgery is essentially a subcutaneous mastectomy, the procedure often performed to treat breast cancer. In a mastectomy, the breast tissue and any excess skin are removed to make a flatter chest. The doctor might also make changes to the size and placement of the nipple and areola

Transfeminine top surgery is similar to breast augmentation or reconstruction after a mastectomy. A plastic surgeon will either insert breast implants under the skin or take fat tissue from other parts of the body and inject it into the breast to create the desired look and feel. 

Either version of top surgery — mastectomy or augmentation — is major surgery and requires follow-up care and some temporary restrictions on physical activities.

In determining when top surgery is appropriate, many physicians consult the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care criteria, which suggest a patient should demonstrate:

  • well-documented gender dysphoria
  • the capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent to treatment
  • legal age to make health care decisions
  • no other untreated health conditions
  • appropriate hormone therapy for their gender goals

Insurance and Financing
Some insurance plans cover top surgery as part of transgender care. In other cases, you will have to pay for the procedure out of pocket. Call your insurer to find out what costs they will cover. Muskegon Surgical Associates offers a variety of financing options

Expert, Personalized Care, Onsite
Muskegon Surgical Associates surgeons are skilled and experienced at performing top surgeries, and are passionate about providing the best possible care to all patients. Our Pure Surgical Center offers the comfort and convenience of staying onsite at our offices and avoiding a hospital visit. Contact us or call 231-739-1933 for more information.

Web MD