After researching sex reassignment surgery, I found the standard of care for gender identity disorder. As mentioned in class and Spade’s article, the medical considerations and standard of care for sex reassignment surgery is much more in depth and complicated than any other elective plastic surgery. For example, a breast augmentation (the most popular procedure) is easy to acquire. There are numerous doctors (and imposters) that are more than willing to perform a breast augmentation. Some plastic surgeons are willing to work out a payment plan! While a breast augmentation is seen as a rather routine procedure, patients still have horror stories about their experience with the “routine” procedure. There are countless woman that regret their decision to have a breast augmentation and many have the implants removed. “Fear” that sex reassignment patients will regret their surgery leads to such extensive medical consideration while breast augmentation does not. Why is it so difficult for individuals who desire a sex change to undergo surgery? The procedure is much more invasive and life-changing than a simple breast enlargement but the reasoning is even more compelling than wanting to “enhance” one’s looks and proportion or land a modeling/acting gig or seem even more feminine and desirable. (I have nothing against wanting to enhance one’s look/appeal to bolster confidence in one’s body.) It seems rather superficial to want to enhance your outward appearance. So why then is it so difficult for those that want to enhance their outward appearance as well as there inward to bolster confidence through sex reassignment surgery?

Another interesting thing about breast augmentations is that the manufacturers of the implants do not undergo rigorous testing to ensure that their product is safe inside a human body. Many implants erupt, leak, and adhere to tissues of the body. This poses many health risks. Women have reported flu-like symptoms, neck and back pain, blurry vision, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, chronic fatigue, COPD, IBS, connective tissue disease, and the possible symptoms go on.  These patients are not even required to see their plastic surgeon annually or schedule follow up appointments (unless complications occur immediately). The FDA is currently investigating the effectiveness of the protocols surrounding breast implants and procedures. If so much time and effort is put into studying and analyzing date surrounding an elective procedure, why not for sex reassignment surgery?  Breast implants are almost guaranteed to fail within a patient’s lifetime. About 80% of implants fail within 10 years of insertion. The more I looked into a breast augmentation the more I realized that the seemingly routine and low risk surgical procedure posed high risks after all. It even guaranteed failure and required more surgeries every 5 to 10 years to replace the silicone implants. It does not seem fair to require extensive mental and physical examinations for an elective surgery such as gender reassignment when voluntary procedures are done by the thousands daily that present many complications to both mental and physical health too.

FDA panels put silicone breast implants back under microscope:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/31/silicone.breast.implants/index.html

Standard of Care for GID: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~colem001/hbigda/soc9.pdf

Sex Reassignment Surgery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_reassignment_surgery

-Melissa

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