A Guide to Gender-Affirming Vaginoplasty
When it comes to the body, everyone should feel comfortable with their identity. While many procedures exist for women to create the body they want, there are also some procedures that can be used for other purposes. Vaginoplasty is a fantastic procedure for tightening the vaginal canal, but it can also be used for gender-affirming purposes, as well. A vaginoplasty for gender-affirming is done for reasons other than traditional vaginoplasty that is done to tighten the vaginal canal. In fact, it can be done as a part of a sexual reassignment surgery to help trans women get the body that helps them match their identity. This guide to gender-affirming vaginoplasty will detail how the vaginoplasty procedure works, as well as what to expect before and after.
What is a Vaginoplasty?
A vaginoplasty, when done for gender-affirming purposes, involves the removal of the penis, scrotum, and testicles and the surgical construction of a vagina. Existing tissues are rearranged to create a vaginal canal and vagina, as well as the outer parts of the vagina or the vulva, including the labia. The vaginal canal itself is created by using the tissue that surrounds the penis, as well as some of the skin from the scrotum. If there is not enough skin to create the vagina and labia, your doctor may want to do a skin graft from somewhere else on the body, such as the thigh or abdomen. This process is intricate, and much attention is paid to detail to ensure that the patient sees the best results they can. A vaginoplasty tends to be a single-step procedure – meaning those who undergo the procedure usually only need one surgical treatment in order to complete the vaginoplasty. However, everybody is different, and some doctors may recommend doing the vaginoplasty in multiple steps.
Preparing for Your Gender-Affirming Vaginoplasty
Chances are you have done a lot of research on a vaginoplasty procedure. If not, now is the ideal time to do so. Request consultations with doctors and learn how the procedure is done. Most surgeries of this type take between seven and ten hours, so be sure you have arrangements for time off of work and school and that you have help with childcare if needed. Make preparations for recovery times, too. Be sure you have everything on hand that you will need – prepared meals, toiletries, and household supplies.
Before the procedure, it is also important to note that you will need to be sure you have permanent hair removal. Since this can take a few months to complete, be sure this is one of the first steps you take.
Recovery After Your Gender-Affirming Vaginoplasty
Recovery following your vaginoplasty will take roughly six to eight weeks. You will spend five to ten days of this in the hospital, resting in bed and under the supervision of your medical team. While in the hospital, you will have a Foley catheter placed, which will be removed before you are discharged. You will receive pain medications and be monitored for signs of proper healing to ensure that you do not develop an infection. Once you are able to walk and have recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital, you can continue to recover in the comfort of your home.
Following your discharge from the hospital – between eight and ten days later – you will be told to start using unscented vaginal douche to ensure that the walls of the vaginal wall remain clean. Although you should douche at least once per week, you may want to change the frequency if you notice a lot of discharge. Also, be sure to keep the vulva clean and dry.
Using the bathroom will be different – you will need to use toilet paper and gently wipe from front to back – not back to front – in order to prevent infections.
Sexual activity should not start until at least twelve weeks after your surgery.
While further surgical procedures may not be necessary, some women opt for revisions to change their appearance to their liking after their recovery.
If you would like to learn more about gender-affirming vaginoplasty or schedule a consultation, call the office of Dr. Ghozland today at 310-393-9359, and we will be happy to set you up with an appointment.