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Gender Affirmation Surgery From a Public Health Perspective

Advances, Challenges, and Areas of Opportunity

Williams, Eva A., MS; Patete, Carissa L., BS; Thaller, Seth R., MD, DMD

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000005367
Original Article: PDF Only

Gender affirmation surgery (GAS) is sought out by approximately 20 to 40% of transgender individuals. These patients possess unique mental and physical health needs. These are compounded by prejudices and lack of education about transgender individuals within the medical system and society at large. Societal and medical barriers are associated with increased risks of violence, suicide, and sexually transmitted infections. This combination of high medical needs and barriers to accessing appropriate care may give rise to a self-perpetuating cycle of risk exposure, stigmatization, prejudice, and eventually poor health outcomes. It is imperative that plastic and reconstructive surgeons understand GAS from a public health perspective, so that they may provide the highest quality of care and help alleviate these disparities. The authors describe unique public health topics in GAS. These are specifically related to healthcare access, surgical education, cultural sensitivity, as well as mental health outcomes for patients who undergo GAS.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Eva A. Williams, MS, Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Clinical Research Building, 1120 NW 14th Street, Miami, FL 33136; E-mail:

Received 12 December, 2018

Accepted 3 January, 2019

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2019 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.