References for the surgeon
Before undergoing genital gender confirmation surgery, it is necessary to fulfil certain requirements, since the changes the patient will be facing are irreversible. So the following requirements are indispensable before taking the step to genital gender confirmation surgery:
- Be a legal adult.
- Maintain contact with a psychologist or psychiatrist to dismiss the possibility that any transitory psychological alteration exists and certify that it is indeed a real process of gender dysphoria.
- Hold a certificate issued by a mental health professional (psychologist or psychiatrist) that accredits the diagnosis of transsexuality (an indispensable legal requirement to undergo the operation)
- Sign an informed consent, of which they may request a copy, informing the patient both of the irreversibility and of complications surrounding this surgery.
The consultation with your surgeon
Both the first and ensuing consultations with the surgeon are highly important, so the patient must not miss any of them. During the consultation the surgeon will compile a complete medical history and request the examinations they deem necessary.
Prior visits with the surgeon are needed to clarify the large number of possible doubts, so the surgeon can undertake the physical explorations needed to determine the type of operation that must be performed, as well as expectations regarding the operation and the patient’s own expectations.
It is essential to trust the surgeon who will operate and frankly address what the patient expects from the operation while listening to the surgeon’s opinion and advice.
Likewise, the patient should expect the surgeon to listen to them when speaking of their symptoms, dilemmas and life. Thus the doctor-patient relationship is strengthened.
During the consultation, the surgeon will tell the patient how to prepare themselves: when and how to stop hormone treatment, what tests they should undergo, medications they must take or stop taking, etc., and explain in thorough detail how the whole procedure will progress: the type of anaesthetic that will be used, the risks and limitations in their specific case, etc. This is the moment for the patient to raise their concerns and clarify any doubts.
When the patient lives outside Spain
In the case of patients resident outside of the country, the pre-operative visits are organised in more of an ongoing manner. This enables the patient to return to their country of residence quickly. When this is the case, it is advisable to provide the telephone number of a trusted doctor in the country where the patient lives, so that the Gender Unit team can get in contact to ensure monitoring of our patients to the best possible extent.
As in any operation, before genital gender confirmation surgery the patient must undergo certain clinical tests that show their state of health. These tests are:
- Full blood analysis
- Coagulation analysis
- Test for human immunodeficiency virus
- Test for hepatitis B and C
- Chest x-ray
The surgeon may also request other tests that they believe are advisable according to the patient’s medical history and always to the benefit of their health.
All data in the medical history, even the analyses, are absolutely confidential and only the surgeon and the patient will know the results.