Top surgery is one of several treatments available to support transgender and nonbinary individuals as they transition. Transitioning is different for every person, and top surgery is just one way to help your physical traits match the gender you identify with.
What is Top Surgery?
Top surgery is a gender-affirming cosmetic procedure that involves changing the size of your breasts. It's one of the most commonly performed gender-reassignment procedures.
Top surgery is designed to help people who feel like they are in the wrong body. Patients who receive top surgery most often report an enhanced impact on their quality of life, allowing them to feel more comfortable in their skin and helping them lead happier and healthier lives.
Top surgery can either create a more masculine or feminine appearance in your breasts, depending on your goals. Top surgery may also be referred to by your board-certified plastic surgeon as:
- Chest surgery
- Masculinizing Chest Surgery
- Female-to-male (FTM) chest surgery
What are the Different Types of Top Surgery?
You may undergo a few different types of top surgery, depending on your individual goals and physiology. This can include:
- Transmasculine top surgery
This cosmetic procedure results in a more masculine-looking chest. A mastectomy—removal of the breasts—is done to resize and reduce your breast tissue and flatten your chest.
- Transfeminine top surgery
Similar to breast augmentation, this top surgery is performed for patients who identify as women but were assigned male at birth. Your surgeon may insert breast implants or use a fat graft to give your breast volume and fullness.
Is Top Surgery Right for You?
Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the first step in determining whether top surgery is right for you. As a major surgery, your doctor will need to evaluate your current health status, including your mental health, as well as your family history of disease and illness and current medication use.
In addition, knowing your end goal and aesthetics is just as important—do you want a more subtle or more dramatic transformation? Are you looking to masculinize your chest or feminize it?
You'll also need to think about your body type and the surgery options available to you. For example, if you're not very tall or have a large chest size, certain surgeries may not be an option for you.
What to Expect During a Gender-Affirming Top Surgery Procedure
If you are considering undergoing top surgery, it is important to understand what to expect during and after the procedure. Top surgeries are typically outpatient procedures, so you will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.
However, you will likely need some time to recover after surgery. Most people take between two and four weeks off from work and other physical activities.
The Risks of Top Surgery
Gender-affirming top surgeries are becoming increasingly popular. However, these surgeries come with risks that should be considered before undergoing surgery.
Some of the risks associated with these surgeries include:
- Blood clots
- Excessive bleeding
- Fluid buildup under the skin
- Damage to body tissue
Gender-Affirming Top Surgery is Safe When Performed by a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not gender-affirming top surgeries are right for you. The decision is highly personal and should be made in consultation with your doctor.
However, if you are considering gender-affirming top surgery, it is essential to do your research and make sure that you are making the best decision for yourself.
As with any surgery, there are risks involved, but the potential benefits of gender-affirming surgery may outweigh the risks for many people.