Most happy with male-to-female sex change surgery

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most people who undergo male-to-female sex change surgery are satisfied with the results, according to a follow-up study of patients treated at one UK practice over a 10-year period.

Dr. Jonathan C. Goddard and colleagues from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust reviewed the cases of 222 individuals who had undergone the procedure, known medically as feminizing genitoplasty.

At the first outpatient visit after the surgery, 88 percent said they were “happy” with the results, 7 percent reported being unhappy, and 5 percent had no comment.

Among patients who had undergone construction of a “neoclitoris” using penile tissue, 86 percent said the new organs were sensitive. Thirty-six patients required repeat surgery to correct urinary problems.

The researchers were able to contact 70 people an average of three years after the surgery. They ranged from 19 to 76 years of age, with an average age of 43. Ninety percent of them had had a clitoris recreated and 89 percent had had a vagina created.

Ninety-eight percent of these individuals reported sensation in their neoclitoris, and 48 percent were able to achieve orgasms. Nine patients, or 14 percent, reported having an overly sensitive clitoris.

Seventy-six percent said the cosmetic results of the surgery were acceptable, while 80 percent said the results “met with their expectations.”

“The most striking finding” of this study, the researchers note, was the difficulty they had in following up with patients long-term, given that many had moved or didn’t respond to attempts to contact them.

It’s possible, they say, that after the grueling process of preparing for and undergoing the operation, “most transsexuals simply wish to get on with their lives in their chosen gender role and prefer to compartmentalize their past.”

SOURCE: BJU International, September 2007.