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The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association's
Standards Of Care For Gender Identity Disorders, Sixth Version
Committee Members: Walter Meyer III M.D. (Chairperson), Walter O. Bockting Ph.D., Peggy Cohen-KettenisPh.D., Eli Coleman Ph.D., Domenico DiCeglie M.D., Holly Devor Ph.D., Louis Gooren M.D., Ph.D., J. Joris HageM.D., Sheila Kirk M.D., Bram Kuiper Ph.D., Donald Laub M.D., Anne Lawrence M.D., Yvon Menard M.D., StanMonstrey M.D., Jude Patton PA-C, Leah Schaefer Ed.D., Alice Webb D.H.S., Connie Christine Wheeler Ph.D.
This is the sixth version of the Standards of Care since the original 1979 document.
Previous revisions were in 1980, 1981, 1990, and 1998.
Table of Contents:
I. Introductory Concepts (p. 1)
Epidemiological Considerations (p. 2)
Diagnostic Nomenclature (p. 3)
The Mental Health Professional (p. 6)
Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents (p. 8)
VI. Psychotherapy with Adults (p. 11)
Requirements for Hormone Therapy for Adults (p. 13)
Effects of Hormone Therapy in Adults (p. 14)
The Real-life Experience (p. 17)
Surgery (p. 18)
Breast Surgery (p. 19)
Genital Surgery (p. 20)
XIII. Post-Transition Follow-up (p. 22)
I. Introductory Concepts
The Purpose of the Standards of Care
. The major purpose of the Standards of Care (SOC) is to
this international organization's professional consensus about the psychiatric,
psychological, medical, and surgical management of gender identity disorders. Professionals
may use this document to understand the parameters within which they may offer assistance to
those with these conditions. Persons with gender identity disorders, their families, and social
institutions may use the SOC to understand the current thinking of professionals. All readers
should be aware of the limitations of knowledge in this area and of the hope that some of the
clinical uncertainties will be resolved in the future through scientific investigation.
The Overarching Treatment Goal.
The general goal of psychotherapeutic, endocrine, or
surgical therapy for persons with gender identity disorders is lasting personal comfort with the
gendered self in order to maximize overall psychological well-being and self-fulfillment.
The Standards of Care Are Clinical Guidelines.
The SOC are intended to provide flexible
directions for the treatment of persons with gender identity disorders. When eligibility
requirements are stated they are meant to be minimum requirements. Individual professionalsand organized programs may modify them. Clinical departures from these guidelines may comeabout because of a patient's unique anatomic, social, or psychological situation, an experiencedprofessional’s evolving method of handling a common situation, or a research protocol. Thesedepartures should be recognized as such, explained to the patient, and documented both for legalprotection and so that the short and long term results can be retrieved to help the field to evolve.
The Clinical Threshold.
A clinical threshold is passed when concerns, uncertainties, and
questions about gender identity persist during a person’s development, become so intense as to
seem to be the most important aspect of a person's life, or prevent the establishment of a
relatively unconflicted gender identity. The person's struggles are then variously informally
referred to as a gender identity problem, gender dysphoria, a gender problem, a gender concern,
gender distress, gender conflict, or transsexualism. Such struggles are known to occur from the
preschool years to old age and have many alternate forms. These reflect various degrees of
personal dissatisfaction with sexual identity, sex and gender demarcating body characteristics,
gender roles, gender identity, and the perceptions of others. When dissatisfied individuals meet
specified criteria in one of two official nomenclatures--the International Classification of
Diseases-10 (ICD-10) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--Fourth
Edition (DSM-IV)--they are formally designated as suffering from
a gender identity disorder
(GID). Some persons with GID exceed another threshold--they persistently possess a wish for
surgical transformation of their bodies.
Two Primary Populations with GID Exist -- Biological Males and Biological Females.
sex of a patient always is a significant factor in the management of GID. Clinicians need to
separately consider the biologic, social, psychological, and economic dilemmas of each sex. All
patients, however, should follow the SOC.
II. Epidemiological Considerations
When the gender identity disorders first came to professional attention, clinical
perspectives were largely focused on how to identify candidates for sex reassignment surgery. As
the field matured, professionals recognized that some persons with bona fide gender identity
disorders neither desired nor were candidates for sex reassignment surgery. The earliest
estimates of prevalence for transsexualism in adults were 1 in 37,000 males and 1 in 107,000
females. The most recent prevalence information from the Netherlands for the transsexual end of
the gender identity disorder spectrum is 1 in 11,900 males and 1 in 30,400 females. Four
observations, not yet firmly supported by systematic study, increase the likelihood of an even
higher prevalence: 1) unrecognized gender problems are occasionally diagnosed when patients
are seen with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, substance abuse,
dissociative identity disorders, borderline personality disorder, other sexual disorders and
intersexed conditions; 2) some nonpatient male transvestites, female impersonators, transgender
people, and male and female homosexuals may have a form of gender identity disorder; 3) the
intensity of some persons' gender identity disorders fluctuates below and above a clinical
threshold; 4) gender variance among female-bodied individuals tends to be relatively invisible to
the culture, particularly to mental health professionals and scientists.
Natural History of Gender Identity Disorders.
Ideally, prospective data about the natural
history of gender identity struggles would inform all treatment decisions. These are lacking,
except for the demonstration that, without therapy, most boys and girls with gender identity
disorders outgrow their wish to change sex and gender. After the diagnosis of GID is made the
therapeutic approach usually includes three elements or phases (sometimes labeled triadic
therapy): a real-life experience in the desired role, hormones of the desired gender, and surgery
to change the genitalia and other sex characteristics. Five less firmly scientifically established
observations prevent clinicians from prescribing the triadic therapy based on diagnosis alone: 1)
some carefully diagnosed persons spontaneously change their aspirations; 2) others make more
comfortable accommodations to their gender identities without medical interventions; 3) others
give up their wish to follow the triadic sequence during psychotherapy; 4) some gender identity
clinics have an unexplained high drop out rate; and 5) the percentage of persons who are not
benefited from the triadic therapy varies significantly from study to study. Many persons with
GID will desire all three elements of triadic therapy. Typically, triadic therapy takes place in the
order of hormones = = > real-life experience = = > surgery, or sometimes: real-life experience =
= > hormones = = > surgery. For some biologic females, the preferred sequence may be
hormones = = > breast surgery = = > real-life experience. However, the diagnosis of GID invites
the consideration of a variety of therapeutic options, only one of which is the complete
therapeutic triad. Clinicians have increasingly become aware that not all persons with gender
identity disorders need or want all three elements of triadic therapy.
Cultural Differences in Gender Identity Variance throughout the World.
epidemiological studies established that a similar base rate of gender identity disorders existed
all over the world, it is likely that cultural differences from one country to another would alter
the behavioral expressions of these conditions. Moreover, access to treatment, cost of treatment,
the therapies offered and the social attitudes towards gender variant people and the professionals
who deliver care differ broadly from place to place. While in most countries, crossing gender
boundaries usually generates moral censure rather than compassion, there are striking examples
in certain cultures of cross-gendered behaviors (e.g., in spiritual leaders) that are not stigmatized.
III. Diagnostic Nomenclature
The Five Elements of Clinical Work.
Professional involvement with patients with gender
identity disorders involves any of the following: diagnostic assessment, psychotherapy, real-life
experience, hormone therapy, and surgical therapy. This section provides a background on
The Development of a Nomenclature
. The term transexxual
emerged into professional and
public usage in the 1950s as a means of designating a person who aspired to or actually lived in
the anatomically contrary gender role, whether or not hormones had been administered or
surgery had been performed. During the 1960s and 1970s, clinicians used the term true
. The true transsexual was thought to be a person with a characteristic path of atypical
gender identity development that predicted an improved life from a treatment sequence that
culminated in genital surgery. True transsexuals were thought to have: 1) cross-gender
identifications that were consistently expressed behaviorally in childhood, adolescence, and
adulthood; 2) minimal or no sexual arousal to cross-dressing; and 3) no heterosexual interest,relative to their anatomic sex. True transsexuals could be of either sex. True transsexual maleswere distinguished from males who arrived at the desire to change sex and gender via areasonably masculine behavioral developmental pathway. Belief in the true transsexual conceptfor males dissipated when it was realized that such patients were rarely encountered, andthatsome of the original true transsexuals had falsified their histories to make their stories matchthe earliest theories about the disorder. The concept of true transsexual females never createddiagnostic uncertainties, largely because patient histories were relatively consistent and gendervariant behaviors such as female cross-dressing remained unseen by clinicians. The term "genderdysphoria syndrome" was later adopted to designate the presence of a gender problem in eithersex until psychiatry developed an official nomenclature.
The diagnosis of Transsexualism was introduced in the DSM-III in 1980 for gender dysphoricindividuals who demonstrated at least two years of continuous interest in transforming the sex oftheir bodies and their social gender status. Others with gender dysphoria could be diagnosed asGender Identity Disorder of Adolescence or Adulthood, Nontranssexual Type; or GenderIdentity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (GIDNOS). These diagnostic terms were usuallyignored by the media, which used the term transsexual for any person who wanted to changehis/her sex and gender.
In 1994, the DSM-IV committee replaced the diagnosis of Transsexualism with
Gender Identity Disorder. Depending on their age, those with a strong and persistent cross-
gender identification and a persistent discomfort with their sex or a sense of inappropriateness in
the gender role of that sex were to be diagnosed as Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood
(302.6), Adolescence, or Adulthood (302.85). For persons who did not meet
Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (GIDNOS)(302.6) was to be used. This
category included a variety of individuals, including those who desired only castration or
penectomy without a desire to develop breasts, those who wished hormone therapy and
mastectomy without genital reconstruction, those with a congenital intersex condition, those with
transient stress-related cross-dressing, and those with considerable ambivalence about giving up
their gender status. Patients diagnosed with GID and GIDNOS were to be subclassified
according to the sexual orientation: attracted to males; attracted to females; attracted to both; or
attracted to neither. This subclassification was intended to assist in determining, over time,
whether individuals of one sexual orientation or another experienced better outcomes using
particular therapeutic approaches; it was not
intended to guide treatment decisions.
Between the publication of DSM-III and DSM-IV, the term "transgender" began to be used invarious ways. Some employed it to refer to those with unusual gender identities in a value-freemanner -- that is, without a connotation of psychopathology. Some people informally used theterm to refer to any person with any type of gender identity issues. Transgender is not a formaldiagnosis, but many professionals and members of the public found it easier to use informallythan GIDNOS, which is a formal diagnosis.
The ICD-10 now provides five diagnoses for the gender identity disorders (F64):
(F64.0) has three criteria:
1. The desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompaniedby the wish to make his or her body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex throughsurgery and hormone treatment;2. The transsexual identity has been present persistently for at least two years;3. The disorder is not a symptom of another mental disorder or a chromosomal abnormality.
(F64.1) has three criteria:
1. The individual wears clothes of the opposite sex in order to experience temporary
membership in the opposite sex;
2. There is no sexual motivation for the cross-dressing;
3. The individual has no desire for a permanent change to the opposite sex.
Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood
(64.2) has separate criteria for girls and for boys.
1. The individual shows persistent and intense distress about being a girl, and has a stateddesire to be a boy (not merely a desire for any perceived cultural advantages to being aboy) or insists that she is a boy;2. Either of the following must be present:
a. Persistent marked aversion to normative feminine clothing and insistence on
wearing stereotypical masculine clothing;
b. Persistent repudiation of female anatomical structures, as evidenced by at least one
of the following:1. An assertion that she has, or will grow, a penis;2. Rejection of urination in a sitting position;3. Assertion that she does not want to grow breasts or menstruate.
3. The girl has not yet reached puberty;4. The disorder must have been present for at least 6 months.
1. The individual shows persistent and intense distress about being a boy, and has a desireto be a girl, or, more rarely, insists that he is a girl.
2. Either of the following must be present:
a. Preoccupation with stereotypic female activities, as shown by a preference for
either cross-dressing or simulating female attire, or by an intense desire toparticipate in the games and pastimes of girls and rejection of stereotypical maletoys, games, and activities;
b. Persistent repudiation of male anatomical structures, as evidenced by at least one of
the following repeated assertions:1. That he will grow up to become a woman (not merely in the role);2. That his penis or testes are disgusting or will disappear;3. That it would be better not to have a penis or testes.
3. The boy has not yet reached puberty;4. The disorder must have been present for at least 6 months.
Other Gender Identity Disorders
(F64.8) has no specific criteria.
Gender Identity Disorder, Unspecified
has no specific criteria.
Either of the previous two diagnoses could be used for those with an intersexed condition.
The purpose of the DSM-IV and ICD-10 is to guide treatment and research. Differentprofessional groups created these nomenclatures through consensus processes at different times.
There is an expectation that the differences between the systems will be eliminated in the future.
At this point, the specific diagnoses are based more on clinical reasoning than on scientificinvestigation.
Are Gender Identity Disorders Mental Disorders?
To qualify as a mental disorder, a
behavioral pattern must result in a significant adaptive disadvantage to the person or cause
personal mental suffering. The DSM-IV and ICD-10 have defined hundreds of mental disorders
which vary in onset, duration, pathogenesis, functional disability, and treatability. The
designation of gender identity disorders as mental disorders is not a license for stigmatization, or
for the deprivation of gender patients' civil rights. The use of a formal diagnosis is often
important in offering relief, providing health insurance coverage, and guiding research to provide
more effective future treatments.
IV. The Mental Health Professional
The Ten Tasks of the Mental Health Professional.
Mental health professionals (MHPs) who
work with individuals with gender identity disorders may be regularly called upon to carry out
many of these responsibilities:
1. To accurately diagnose the individual's gender disorder;2. To accurately diagnose any co-morbid psychiatric conditions and see to their appropriate
3. To counsel the individual about the range of treatment options and their implications;4. To engage in psychotherapy;5. To ascertain eligibility and readiness for hormone and surgical therapy;6. To make formal recommendations to medical and surgical colleagues;7. To document their patient's relevant history in a letter of recommendation;8. To be a colleague on a team of professionals with an interest in the gender identity
9. To educate family members, employers, and institutions about gender identity disorders;10. To be available for follow-up of previously seen gender patients.
The education of the mental health professional who specializes in adult
gender identity disorders rests upon basic general clinical competence in diagnosis and treatment
of mental or emotional disorders. Clinical training may occur within any formally credentialing
discipline -- for example, psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, or nursing. The
following are the recommended minimal credentials for special competence with the gender
1. A master's degree or its equivalent in a clinical behavioral science field. This or a more
advanced degree should be granted by an institution accredited by a recognized national
or regional accrediting board. The mental health professional should have documentedcredentials from a proper training facility and a licensing board.
2. Specialized training and competence in the assessment of the DSM-IV/ICD-10 Sexual
Disorders (not simply gender identity disorders).
3. Documented supervised training and competence in psychotherapy.
4. Continuing education in the treatment of gender identity disorders, which may include
attendance at professional meetings, workshops, or seminars or participating in researchrelated to gender identity issues.
The professional who evaluates and offers therapy for a child or early
adolescent with GID should have been trained in childhood and adolescent developmental
psychopathology. The professional should be competent in diagnosing and
treating the ordinary
problems of children and adolescents. These requirements are in addition to the adult-specialist
The Differences between Eligibility and Readiness.
The SOC provide recommendations for
eligibility requirements for hormones and surgery. Without first meeting these recommended
eligibility requirements, the patient and the therapist should not request hormones or surgery. An
example of an eligibility requirement is: a person must live full time in the preferred gender for
twelve months prior to genital surgery. To meet this criterion, the professional needs to
document that the real-life experience has occurred for this duration. Meeting readiness criteria --
further consolidation of the evolving gender identity or improving mental health in the new or
confirmed gender role -- is more complicated, because it rests upon the clinician's and the
The Mental Health Professional's Relationship to the Prescribing Physician and Surgeon.
Mental health professionals who recommend hormonal and surgical therapy share the legal and
ethical responsibility for that decision with the physician who undertakes the treatment.
Hormonal treatment can often alleviate anxiety and depression in people without the use of
additional psychotropic medications. Some individuals, however, need psychotropic medication
prior to, or concurrent with, taking hormones or having surgery. The mental health professional
is expected to make this assessment, and see that the appropriate psychotropic medications are
offered to the patient. The presence of psychiatric co-morbidities does not necessarily
hormonal or surgical treatment, but some diagnoses pose difficult treatment dilemmas and may
delay or preclude
the use of either treatment.
The Mental Health Professional’s Documentation Letter for Hormone Therapy or Surgery
Should Succinctly Specify:
1. The patient's general identifying characteristics;2. The initial and evolving gender, sexual, and other psychiatric diagnoses;3. The duration of their professional relationship including the type of psychotherapy or
4. The eligibility criteria that have been met and the mental health professional’s rationale
5. The degree to which the patient has followed the Standards of Care to date and the
6. Whether the author of the report is part of a gender team;
7. That the sender welcomes a phone call to verify the fact that the mental health
professional actually wrote the letter as described in this document.
The organization and completeness of these letters provide the hormone-prescribing physicianand the surgeon an important degree of assurance that mental health professional isknowledgeable and competent concerning gender identity disorders.
One Letter is Required for Instituting Hormone Therapy, or for Breast Surgery.
from a mental health professional, including the above seven points, written to the physician who
will be responsible for the patient’s medical treatment, is sufficient for instituting hormone
therapy or for a referral for breast surgery (e.g., mastectomy, chest reconstruction, or
Two Letters are Generally Required for Genital Surgery.
Genital surgery for biologic males
may include orchiectomy, penectomy, clitoroplasty, labiaplasty or creation of a neovagina; for
biologic females it may include hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy,
metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty, placement of testicular prostheses, or creation of a
It is ideal if mental health professionals conduct their tasks and periodically report on theseprocesses as part of a team of other mental health professionals and nonpsychiatric physicians.
One letter to the physician performing genital surgery will generally suffice as long as twomental health professionals sign it.
More commonly, however, letters of recommendation are from mental health professionals whowork alone without colleagues experienced with gender identity disorders. Because professionalsworking independently may not have the benefit of ongoing professional consultation on gendercases, two letters of recommendation are required prior to initiating genital surgery. If the firstletter is from a person with a master's degree, the second letter should be from a psychiatrist or aPh.D. clinical psychologist, who can be expected to adequately evaluate co-morbid psychiatricconditions. If the first letter is from the patient's psychotherapist, the second letter should be froma person who has only played an evaluative role for the patient. Each letter, however, is expectedto cover the same topics. At least one of the letters should be an extensive report. The secondletter writer, having read the first letter, may choose to offer a briefer summary and an agreementwith the recommendation.
V. Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents
Gender identity disorders in children and adolescents are different from those
seen in adults, in that a rapid and dramatic developmental process (physical, psychological and
sexual) is involved. Gender identity disorders in children and adolescents are complex
conditions. The young person may experience his or her phenotype sex as inconsistent with his
or her own sense of gender identity. Intense distress is often experienced, particularly in
adolescence, and there are frequently associated emotional and behavioral difficulties. There is
greater fluidity and variability in outcomes, especially in pre-pubertal children. Only a few
gender variant youths become transsexual, although many eventually develop a homosexualorientation.
Commonly seen features of gender identity conflicts in children and adolescents include a stateddesire to be the other sex; cross dressing; play with games and toys usually associated with thegender with which the child identifies; avoidance of the clothing, demeanor and play normallyassociated with the child’s sex and gender of assignment; preference for playmates or friends ofthe sex and gender with which the child identifies; and dislike of bodily sex characteristics andfunctions. Gender identity disorders are more often diagnosed in boys.
Phenomenologically, there is a qualitative difference between the way children and adolescentspresent their sex and gender predicaments, and the presentation of delusions or other psychoticsymptoms. Delusional beliefs about their body or gender can occur in psychotic conditions butthey can be distinguished from the phenomenon of a gender identity disorder. Gender identitydisorders in childhood are not equivalent to those in adulthood and the former do not inevitablylead to the latter. The younger the child the less certain and perhaps more malleable the outcome.
Psychological and Social Interventions.
The task of the child-specialist mental health
professional is to provide assessment and treatment that broadly conforms to the following
1. The professional should recognize and accept the gender identity problem. Acceptance
and removal of secrecy can bring considerable relief.
2. The assessment should explore the nature and characteristics of the child’s or
adolescent’s gender identity. A complete psychodiagnostic and psychiatric assessmentshould be performed. A complete assessment should include a family evaluation, becauseother emotional and behavioral problems are very common, and unresolved issues in thechild’s environment are often present.
3. Therapy should focus on ameliorating any comorbid problems in the child’s life, and on
reducing distress the child experiences from his or her gender identity problem and otherdifficulties. The child and family should be supported in making difficult decisionsregarding the extent to which to allow the child to assume a gender role consistent withhis or her gender identity. This includes issues of whether to inform others of the child’ssituation, and how others in the child’s life should respond; for example, whether thechild should attend school using a name and clothing opposite to his or her sex ofassignment. They should also be supported in tolerating uncertainty and anxiety inrelation to the child’s gender expression and how best to manage it. Professional networkmeetings can be very useful in finding appropriate solutions to these problems.
. Before any physical intervention is considered, extensive exploration of
psychological, family and social issues should be undertaken. Physical interventions should be
addressed in the context of adolescent development. Adolescents’ gender identity development
can rapidly and unexpectedly evolve. An adolescent shift toward gender conformity can occur
primarily to please the family, and may not persist or reflect a permanent change in gender
identity. Identity beliefs in adolescents may become firmly held and strongly expressed, giving a
false impression of irreversibility; more fluidity may return at a later stage. For these reasons,
irreversible physical interventions should be delayed as long as is clinically appropriate. Pressure
for physical interventions because of an adolescent’s level of distress can be great and in such
circumstances a referral to a child and adolescent multi-disciplinary specialty service should beconsidered, in locations where these exist.
Physical interventions fall into three categories or stages:
1. Fully reversible interventions. These involve the use of LHRH agonists or
medroxyprogesterone to suppress estrogen or testosterone production, and consequentlyto delay the physical changes of puberty.
2. Partially reversible interventions. These include hormonal interventions that masculinize
or feminize the body, such as administration of testosterone to biologic females andestrogen to biologic males. Reversal may involve surgical intervention.
3. Irreversible interventions. These are surgical procedures.
A staged process is recommended to keep options open through the first two stages. Movingfrom one state to another should not occur until there has been adequate time for the youngperson and his/her family to assimilate fully the effects of earlier interventions.
Fully Reversible Interventions.
Adolescents may be eligible for puberty-delaying hormones as
soon as pubertal changes have begun. In order for the adolescent and his or her parents to make
an informed decision about pubertal delay, it is recommended that the adolescent experience the
onset of puberty in his or her biologic sex, at least to Tanner Stage Two. If for clinical reasons it
is thought to be in the patient’s interest to intervene earlier, this must be managed with pediatric
endocrinological advice and more than one psychiatric opinion.
Two goals justify this intervention: a) to gain time to further explore the gender identity andother developmental issues in psychotherapy; and b) to make passing easier if the adolescentcontinues to pursue sex and gender change. In order to provide puberty delaying hormones to anadolescent, the following criteria must be met:
1. throughout childhood the adolescent has demonstrated an intense pattern of cross-sex and
cross-gender identity and aversion to expected gender role behaviors;
2. sex and gender discomfort has significantly increased with the onset of puberty;3. the family consents and participates in the therapy.
Biologic males should be treated with LHRH agonists (which stop LH secretion and thereforetestosterone secretion), or with progestins or antiandrogens (which block testosterone secretionor neutralize testosterone action). Biologic females should be treated with LHRH agonists orwith sufficient progestins (which stop the production of estrogens and progesterone) to stopmenstruation.
Partially Reversible Interventions
. Adolescents may be eligible to begin masculinizing or
feminizing hormone therapy as early as age 16, preferably with parental consent. In many
countries 16-year olds are legal adults for medical decision making, and do not require parental
Mental health professional involvement is an eligibility requirement for triadic therapy duringadolescence. For the implementation of the real-life experience or hormone therapy, the mentalhealth professional should be involved with the patient and family for a minimum of six months.
While the number of sessions during this six-month period rests upon the clinician’s judgment,
the intent is that hormones and the real-life experience be thoughtfully and recurrentlyconsidered over time. In those patients who have already begun the real-life experience prior tobeing seen, the professional should work closely with them and their families with the thoughtfulrecurrent consideration of what is happening over time.
. Any surgical intervention should not be carried out prior to
adulthood, or prior to a real-life experience of at least two years in the gender role of the sex with
which the adolescent identifies. The threshold of 18 should be seen as an eligibility criterion and
not an indication in itself for active intervention.
VI. Psychotherapy with Adults
A Basic Observation.
Many adults with gender identity disorder find comfortable, effective
ways of living that do not involve all the components of the triadic treatment sequence. While
some individuals manage to do this on their own, psychotherapy can be very helpful in bringing
about the discovery and maturational processes that enable self-comfort.
Psychotherapy is Not an Absolute Requirement for Triadic Therapy.
Not every adult gender
patient requires psychotherapy in order to proceed with hormone therapy, the real-life
experience, hormones, or surgery. Individual programs vary to the extent that they perceive a
need for psychotherapy. When the mental health professional's initial assessment leads to a
recommendation for psychotherapy, the clinician should specify the goals of treatment, and
estimate its frequency and duration. There is no required minimum number of psychotherapy
sessions prior to hormone therapy, the real-life experience, or surgery, for three reasons: 1)
patients differ widely in their abilities to attain similar goals in a specified time; 2) a minimum
number of sessions tends to be construed as a hurdle, which discourages the genuine opportunity
for personal growth; 3) the mental health professional can be an important support to the patient
throughout all phases of gender transition. Individual programs may set eligibility criteria to
some minimum number of sessions or months of psychotherapy.
The mental health professional who conducts the initial evaluation need not be thepsychotherapist. If members of a gender team do not do psychotherapy, the psychotherapistshould be informed that a letter describing the patient's therapy might be requested so the patientcan proceed
with the next phase of treatment.
Goals of Psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy often provides education about a range of options not
previously seriously considered by the patient. It emphasizes the need to set realistic life goals
for work and relationships, and it seeks to define and alleviate the patient's conflicts that may
have undermined a stable lifestyle.
The Therapeutic Relationship.
The establishment of a reliable trusting relationship with the
patient is the first step toward successful work as a mental health professional. This is usually
accomplished by competent nonjudgmental exploration of the gender issues with the patient
during the initial diagnostic evaluation. Other issues may be better dealt with later, after the
person feels that the clinician is interested in and understands their gender identity concerns.
Ideally, the clinician's work is with the whole of the person's complexity. The goals of therapyare to help the person to live more comfortably within a gender identity and to deal effectivelywith non-gender issues. The clinician often attempts to facilitate the capacity to work and toestablish or maintain supportive relationships. Even when these initial goals are attained, mentalhealth professionals should discuss the likelihood that no educational, psychotherapeutic,medical, or surgical therapy can permanently eradicate all vestiges of the person's original sexassignment and previous gendered experience.
Processes of Psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy is a series of interactive communications between a
therapist who is knowledgeable about how people suffer emotionally and how this may be
alleviated, and a patient who is experiencing distress. Typically, psychotherapy consists of
regularly held 50-minutes sessions. The psychotherapy sessions initiate a developmental process.
They enable the patient’s history to be appreciated,
current dilemmas to be understood, and
unrealistic ideas and maladaptive behaviors to be identified. Psychotherapy is not intended to
cure the gender identity disorder. Its usual goal is a long-term stable life style with realistic
chances for success in relationships, education, work, and gender identity expression. Gender
distress often intensifies relationship, work, and educational dilemmas.
The therapist should make clear that it is the patient's right to choose among many options. Thepatient can experiment over time with alternative approaches. Ideally, psychotherapy is acollaborative effort. The therapist must be certain that the patient understands the concepts ofeligibility and readiness, because the therapist and patient must cooperate in defining thepatient's problems, and in assessing progress in dealing with them. Collaboration can prevent astalemate between a therapist who seems needlessly withholding of a recommendation, and apatient who seems too profoundly distrusting to freely share thoughts, feelings, events, andrelationships.
Patients may benefit from psychotherapy at every stage of gender evolution. This includes thepost-surgical period, when the anatomic obstacles to gender comfort have been removed, but theperson may continue to feel a lack of genuine comfort and skill in living in the new gender role.
Options for Gender Adaptation.
The activities and processes that are listed below have, in
various combinations, helped people to find more personal comfort. These adaptations may
evolve spontaneously and during psychotherapy. Finding new gender adaptations does not mean
that the person may not in the future elect to pursue hormone therapy, the real-life experience, or
1. Cross-dressing: unobtrusively with undergarments; unisexually; or in a feminine fashion;2. Changing the body through: hair removal through electrolysis or body waxing; minor
3. Increasing grooming, wardrobe, and vocal expression skills.
1. Cross-dressing: unobtrusively with undergarments, unisexually, or in a masculine
2. Changing the body through breast binding, weight lifting, applying theatrical facial hair;
3. Padding underpants or wearing a penile prosthesis.
1. Learning about transgender phenomena from: support groups and gender networks,
communication with peers via the Internet, studying these Standards of Care, relevant layand professional literatures about legal rights pertaining to work, relationships, and publiccross-dressing;
2. Involvement in recreational activities of the desired gender;3. Episodic cross-gender living.
1. Acceptance of personal homosexual or bisexual fantasies and behaviors (orientation) as
distinct from gender identity and gender role aspirations;
2. Acceptance of the need to maintain a job, provide for the emotional needs of children,
honor a spousal commitment, or not to distress a family member as currently having ahigher priority than the personal wish for constant cross-gender expression;
3. Integration of male and female gender awareness into daily living;4. Identification of the triggers for increased cross-gender yearnings and effectively
attending to them; for instance, developing better self-protective, self-assertive, andvocational skills to advance at work and resolve interpersonal struggles to strengthen keyrelationships.
VII. Requirements for Hormone Therapy for Adults
Reasons for Hormone Therapy.
Cross-sex hormonal treatments play an important role in the
anatomical and psychological gender transition process for properly selected adults with gender
identity disorders. Hormones are often medically necessary for successful living in the new
gender. They improve the quality of life and limit psychiatric co-morbidity, which often
accompanies lack of treatment. When physicians administer androgens to biologic females and
estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone-blocking agents to biologic males, patients feel and
appear more like members of their preferred gender.
The administration of hormones is not to be lightly undertaken because of
their medical and social risks.
Three criteria exist.
1. Age 18 years;2. Demonstrable knowledge of what hormones medically can and cannot do and their social
a. A documented real-life experience of at least three months prior to the administrationof hormones; orb. A period of psychotherapy of a duration specified by the mental health professionalafter the initial evaluation (usually a minimum of three months).
In selected circumstances, it can be acceptable to provide hormones to patients who have notfulfilled criterion 3 – for example, to facilitate the provision of monitored therapy usinghormones of known quality, as an alternative to black-market or unsupervised hormone use.
Three criteria exist:
1. The patient has had further consolidation of gender identity during the real-life
2. The patient has made some progress in mastering other identified problems leading to
improving or continuing stable mental health (this implies satisfactory control ofproblems such as sociopathy, substance abuse, psychosis and suicidality;
3. The patient is likely to take hormones in a responsible manner.
Can Hormones Be Given To Those Who Do Not Want Surgery or a Real-life Experience?
Yes, but after diagnosis and psychotherapy with a qualified mental health professional following
minimal standards listed above. Hormone therapy can provide significant comfort to gender
patients who do not wish to cross live or undergo surgery, or who are unable to do so. In some
patients, hormone therapy alone may provide sufficient symptomatic relief to obviate the need
for cross living or surgery.
Hormone Therapy and Medical Care for Incarcerated Persons.
Persons who are receiving
treatment for gender identity disorders should continue to receive appropriate treatment
following these Standards of Care after incarceration. For example, those who are receiving
psychotherapy and/or cross-sex hormonal treatments should be allowed to continue this
medically necessary treatment to prevent or limit emotional lability, undesired regression of
hormonally-induced physical effects and the sense of desperation that may lead to depression,
anxiety and suicidality. Prisoners who are subject to rapid withdrawal of cross-sex hormones are
particularly at risk for psychiatric symptoms and self-injurious behaviors. Medical monitoring of
hormonal treatment as described in these Standards should also be provided. Housing for
transgendered prisoners should take into account their transition status and their personal safety.
VIII. Effects of Hormone Therapy in Adults
The maximum physical effects of hormones may not be evident until two years of continuoustreatment. Heredity limits the tissue response to hormones and this cannot be overcome byincreasing dosage. The degree of effects actually attained varies from patient to patient.
Desired Effects of Hormones.
Biologic males treated with estrogens can realistically expect
treatment to result in: breast growth, some redistribution of body fat to approximate a female
body habitus, decreased upper body strength, softening of skin, decrease in body hair, slowing or
stopping the loss of scalp hair, decreased fertility and testicular size, and less frequent, less firm
erections. Most of these changes are reversible, although breast enlargement will not completely
reverse after discontinuation of treatment.
females treated with testosterone can expect the following permanent changes: adeepening of the voice, clitoral enlargement, mild breast atrophy, increased facial and body hairand male pattern baldness. Reversible changes include increased upper body strength, weightgain, increased social and sexual
interest and arousability, and decreased hip fat.
Potential Negative Medical Side Effects.
Patients with medical problems or otherwise at risk
for cardiovascular disease may be more likely to experience serious or fatal consequences of
cross-sex hormonal treatments. For example, cigarette smoking, obesity, advanced age, heart
disease, hypertension, clotting abnormalities, malignancy, and some endocrine abnormalities
may increase side effects and risks for hormonal treatment. Therefore, some patients may not be
able to tolerate cross-sex hormones. However, hormones can provide health benefits as well as
risks. Risk-benefit ratios should be considered collaboratively by the patient and prescribing
Side effects in biologic males treated with estrogens and progestins may include increasedpropensity to blood clotting (venous thrombosis with a risk of fatal pulmonary embolism),development of benign pituitary prolactinomas, infertility, weight gain, emotional lability, liverdisease, gallstone formation, somnolence, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus.
Side effects in biologic females treated with testosterone may include infertility, acne, emotionallability, increases in sexual desire, shift of lipid profiles to male patterns which increase the riskof cardiovascular disease, and the potential to develop benign and malignant liver tumors andhepatic dysfunction.
The Prescribing Physician's Responsibilities.
Hormones are to be prescribed by a physician,
and should not be administered without adequate psychological and medical assessment before
and during treatment. Patients who do not understand the eligibility and readiness requirements
and who are unaware of the SOC should be informed of them. This may be a good indication for
a referral to a mental health professional experienced with gender identity disorders.
The physician providing hormonal treatment and medical monitoring need not be a specialist in
endocrinology, but should become well-versed in the relevant medical and psychological aspects
of treating persons with gender identity disorders.
After a thorough medical history, physical examination, and laboratory examination, thephysician should again review the likely effects and side effects of hormone treatment, includingthe potential for serious, life-threatening consequences. The patient must have the capacity toappreciate the risks and benefits of treatment, have his/her questions answered, and agree tomedical monitoring of treatment. The medical record must contain a written informed consentdocument reflecting a discussion of the risks and benefits of hormone therapy.
Physicians have a wide latitude in what hormone preparations they may prescribe and whatroutes of administration they may select for individual patients. Viable options include oral,injectable, and transdermal delivery systems. The use of transdermal estrogen patches should beconsidered for males over 40 years of age or those with clotting abnormalities or a history ofvenous thrombosis. Transdermal testosterone is useful in females who do not want to takeinjections. In the absence of any other medical, surgical, or psychiatric conditions, basic medicalmonitoring should include: serial physical examinations relevant to treatment effects and sideeffects, vital sign measurements before and during treatment, weight measurements, andlaboratory assessment. Gender patients, whether on hormones or not, should be screened forpelvic malignancies as are other persons.
For those receiving estrogens, the minimum laboratory assessment should consist of apretreatment free testosterone level, fasting glucose, liver function tests, and complete bloodcount with reassessment at 6 and 12 months and annually thereafter. A pretreatment prolactinlevel should be obtained and repeated at 1, 2, and 3 years. If hyperprolactemia does not occurduring this time, no further measurements are necessary. Biologic males undergoing estrogentreatment should be monitored for breast cancer and encouraged to engage in routine self-examination. As they age, they should be monitored for prostatic cancer.
For those receiving androgens, the minimum laboratory assessment should consist ofpretreatment liver function tests and complete blood count with reassessment at 6 months, 12months, and yearly thereafter. Yearly palpation of the liver should be considered. Females whohave undergone mastectomies and who have a family history of breast cancer should bemonitored for this disease.
Physicians may provide their patients with a brief written statement indicating that the person isunder medical supervision, which includes cross-sex hormone therapy. During the early phasesof hormone treatment, the patient may be encouraged to carry this statement at all times to helpprevent difficulties with the police and other authorities.
Reductions in Hormone Doses After Gonadectomy.
Estrogen doses in post-orchiectomy
patients can often be reduced by 1/3 to ½ and still maintain feminization. Reductions in
testosterone doses post-oophorectomy should be considered, taking into account the risks of
osteoporosis. Lifelong maintenance treatment is usually required in all gender patients.
The Misuse of Hormones.
Some individuals obtain hormones without prescription from friends,
family members, and pharmacies in other countries. Medically unmonitored hormone use can
expose the person to greater medical risk. Persons taking medically monitored hormones have
been known to take additional doses of illicitly obtained hormones without their physician's
knowledge. Mental health professionals and prescribing physicians should make an effort to
encourage compliance with recommended dosages, in order to limit morbidity. It is ethical for
physicians to discontinue treatment of patients who do not comply with prescribed treatment
Other Potential Benefits of Hormones.
Hormonal treatment, when medically tolerated, should
precede any genital surgical interventions. Satisfaction with the hormone's effects consolidates
the person's identity as a member of the preferred sex and gender and further adds to the
conviction to proceed. Dissatisfaction with hormonal effects may signal ambivalence about
proceeding to surgical interventions. In biologic males, hormones alone often generate adequate
breast development, precluding the need for augmentation mammaplasty. Some patients who
receive hormonal treatment will not desire genital or other surgical interventions.
The Use of Antiandrogens and Sequential Therapy.
Antiandrogens can be used as adjunctive
treatments in biologic males receiving estrogens, though they are not always necessary to
achieve feminization. In some patients, antiandrogens may more profoundly suppress the
production of testosterone, enabling a lower dose of estrogen to be used when adverse estrogen
side effects are anticipated.
Feminization does not require sequential therapy. Attempts to mimic the menstrual cycle byprescribing interrupted estrogen therapy or substituting progesterone for estrogen during part ofthe month are not necessary to achieve feminization.
Hormonal treatment should be provided only to those who are legally able
to provide informed consent. This includes persons who have been declared by a court to be
emancipated minors and incarcerated persons who are considered competent to participate in
their medical decisions. For adolescents, informed consent needs to include the minor patient's
assent and the written informed consent of a parent or legal guardian.
Informed consent implies that the patient understands that hormone
administration limits fertility and that the removal of sexual organs prevents the capacity to
reproduce. Cases are known of persons who have received hormone therapy and sex
reassignment surgery who later regretted their inability to parent genetically related children. The
mental health professional recommending hormone therapy, and the physician prescribing such
therapy, should discuss reproductive options with the patient prior to starting hormone therapy.
Biologic males, especially those who have not already reproduced, should be informed about
sperm preservation options, and encouraged to consider banking sperm prior to hormone therapy.
Biologic females do not presently have readily available options for gamete preservation, other
than cryopreservation of fertilized embryos. However, they should be informed about
reproductive issues, including this option. As other options become available, these should be
IX. The Real-Life Experience
The act of fully adopting a new or evolving gender role or gender presentation in everyday life isknown as the real-life experience. The real-life experience is essential to the transition to thegender role that is congruent with the patient’s gender identity. Since changing one's genderpresentation has immediate profound personal and social consequences, the decision to do soshould be preceded by an awareness of what the familial, vocational, interpersonal, educational,economic, and legal consequences are likely to be. Professionals have a responsibility to discussthese predictable consequences with their patients. Change of gender role and presentation canbe an important factor in employment discrimination, divorce, marital problems, and therestriction or loss of visitation rights with children. These represent external reality issues thatmust be confronted for success in the new gender presentation. These consequences may be quitedifferent from what the patient imagined prior to undertaking the real-life experiences. However,not all changes are negative.
Parameters of the Real-Life Experience.
When clinicians assess the quality of a person's real-
life experience in the desired gender, the following abilities are reviewed:
1. To maintain full or part-time employment;2. To function as a student;3. To function in community-based volunteer activity;4. To undertake some combination of items 1-3;5. To acquire a (legal) gender-identity-appropriate first name;
6. To provide documentation that persons other than the therapist know that the patient
functions in the desired gender role.
Real-Life Experience versus Real-Life Test.
Although professionals may recommend living in
the desired gender, the decision as to when and how to begin the real-life experience remains the
person's responsibility. Some begin the real-life experience and decide that this often imagined
life direction is not in their best interest. Professionals sometimes construe the real-life
experience as the real-life test of the ultimate diagnosis. If patients prosper in the preferred
gender, they are confirmed as "transsexual," but if they decided against continuing, they "must
not have been." This reasoning is a confusion of the forces that enable successful adaptation with
the presence of a gender identity disorder. The real-life experience tests the person's resolve, the
capacity to function in the preferred gender, and the adequacy of social, economic, and
psychological supports. It assists both the patient and the mental health professional in their
judgments about how to proceed. Diagnosis, although always open for reconsideration, precedes
a recommendation for patients to embark on the real-life experience. When the patient is
successful in the real-life experience, both the mental health professional and the patient gain
confidence about undertaking further steps.
Removal of Beard and other Unwanted Hair for the Male to Female Patient.
is not significantly slowed by cross-sex hormone administration. Facial hair removal via
electrolysis is a generally safe, time-consuming process that often facilitates the real-life
experience for biologic males. Side effects include discomfort during and immediately after the
procedure and less frequently hypo-or hyper pigmentation, scarring, and folliculitis. Formal
medical approval for hair removal is not necessary; electrolysis may be begun whenever the
patient deems it prudent. It is usually recommended prior to commencing the real-life
experience, because the beard must grow out to visible lengths to be removed. Many patients
will require two years of regular treatments to effectively eradicate their facial hair. Hair removal
by laser is a new alternative approach, but experience with it is limited.
Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID.
In persons diagnosed
with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy
and real-life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic
regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and
medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective,"
"cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate
treatment for transsexualism or profound GID.
How to Deal with Ethical Questions Concerning Sex Reassignment Surgery.
including some medical professionals, object on ethical grounds to surgery for GID. In ordinary
surgical practice, pathological tissues are removed in order to restore disturbed functions, or
alterations are made to body features to improve the patient’s self image. Among those who
object to sex reassignment surgery, these conditions are not thought to present when surgery is
performed for persons with gender identity disorders. It is important that professionals dealing
with patients with gender identity disorders feel comfortable about altering anatomically normalstructures. In order to understand how surgery can alleviate the psychological discomfort ofpatients diagnosed with gender identity disorders, professionals need to listen to these patientsdiscuss their life histories and dilemmas. The resistance against performing surgery on the ethicalbasis of "above all do no harm" should be respected, discussed, and met with the opportunity tolearn from patients themselves about the psychological distress of having profound genderidentity disorder.
It is unethical to deny availability or eligibility for sex reassignment surgeries or hormonetherapy solely on the basis of blood seropositivity for blood-borne infections such as HIV, orhepatitis B or C, etc.
The Surgeon’s Relationship with the Physician Prescribing Hormones and the Mental
The surgeon is not merely a technician hired to perform a procedure. The
surgeon is part of the team of clinicians participating in a long-term treatment process. The
patient often feels an immense positive regard for the surgeon, which ideally will enable long-
term follow-up care. Because of his or her responsibility to the patient, the surgeon must
understand the diagnosis that has led to the recommendation for genital surgery. Surgeons should
have a chance to speak at length with their patients to satisfy themselves that the patient is likely
to benefit from the procedures. Ideally, the surgeon should have a close working relationship
with the other professionals who have been actively involved in the patient’s psychological and
medical care. This is best accomplished by belonging to an interdisciplinary team of
professionals who specialize in gender identity disorders. Such gender teams do not exist
everywhere, however. At the very least, the surgeon needs to be assured that the mental health
professional and physician prescribing hormones are reputable professionals with specialized
experience with gender identity disorders. This is often reflected in the quality of the
documentation letters. Since fictitious and falsified letters have occasionally been presented,
surgeons should personally communicate with at least one of the mental health professionals to
verify the authenticity of their letters.
Prior to performing any surgical procedures, the surgeon should have all medical conditionsappropriately monitored and the effects of the hormonal treatment upon the liver and other organsystems investigated. This can be done alone or in conjunction with medical colleagues. Sincepre-existing conditions may complicate genital reconstructive surgeries, surgeons must also becompetent in urological diagnosis. The medical record should contain written informed consentfor the particular surgery to be performed.
XI. Breast Surgery
Breast augmentation and removal are common operations, easily obtainable by the generalpublic for a variety of indications. Reasons for these operations range from cosmetic indicationsto cancer. Although breast appearance is definitely important as a secondary sex characteristic,breast size or presence are not involved in the legal definitions of sex and gender and are notimportant for reproduction. The performance of breast operations should be considered with the
same reservations as beginning hormonal therapy. Both produce relatively irreversible changesto the body.
The approach for male-to-female patients is different than for female-to-male patients. Forfemale-to-male patients, a mastectomy procedure is usually the first surgery performed forsuccess in gender presentation as a man; and for some patients it is the only surgery undertaken.
When the amount of breast tissue removed requires skin removal, a scar will result and thepatient should be so informed. Female-to-male patients may have surgery at the same time theybegin hormones. For male-to-female patients, augmentation mammoplasty may be performed ifthe physician prescribing hormones and the surgeon have documented that breast enlargementafter undergoing hormone treatment for 18 months is not sufficient for comfort in the socialgender role.
XII. Genital Surgery
These minimum eligibility criteria for various genital surgeries equally
apply to biologic males and females seeking genital surgery. They are:
1. Legal age of majority in the patient's nation;2. Usually 12 months of continuous hormonal therapy for those without a medical
contraindication (see below, "Can Surgery Be Performed Without Hormones and theReal-life Experience");
3. 12 months of successful continuous full time real-life experience. Periods of returning to
the original gender may indicate ambivalence about proceeding and generally should notbe used to fulfill this criterion;
4. If required by the mental health professional, regular responsible participation in
psychotherapy throughout the real-life experience at a frequency determined jointly bythe patient and the mental health professional. Psychotherapy per se is not an absoluteeligibility criterion for surgery;
5. Demonstrable knowledge of the cost, required lengths of hospitalizations, likely
complications, and post surgical rehabilitation requirements of various surgicalapproaches;
6. Awareness of different competent surgeons.
The readiness criteria include:
1. Demonstrable progress in consolidating one’s gender identity;2. Demonstrable progress in dealing with work, family, and interpersonal issues resulting in
a significantly better state of mental health; this implies satisfactory control of problemssuch as sociopathy, substance abuse, psychosis, suicidality, for instance).
Can Surgery Be Provided Without Hormones and the Real-life Experience?
cannot receive genital surgery without meeting the eligibility criteria. Genital surgery is a
treatment for a diagnosed gender identity disorder, and should undertaken only after careful
evaluation. Genital surgery is not a right that must be granted upon request. The SOC provide for
an individual approach for every patient; but this does not mean that the general guidelines,
which specify treatment consisting of diagnostic evaluation, possible psychotherapy, hormones,
and real-life experience, can be ignored. However, if a person has lived convincingly as amember of the preferred gender for a long period of time and is assessed to be a psychologicallyhealthy after a requisite period of psychotherapy, there is no inherent reason that he or she musttake hormones prior to genital surgery.
Conditions under which Surgery May Occur.
Genital surgical treatments for persons with a
diagnosis of gender identity disorder are not merely another set of elective procedures. Typical
elective procedures only involve a private mutually consenting contract between a patient and a
surgeon. Genital surgeries for individuals diagnosed as having GID are to be undertaken only
after a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. Genital surgery may
be performed once written documentation that a comprehensive evaluation has occurred and that
the person has met the eligibility and readiness criteria. By following this procedure, the mental
health professional, the surgeon and the patient share responsibility of the decision to make
irreversible changes to the body.
Requirements for the Surgeon Performing Genital Reconstruction.
The surgeon should be a
urologist, gynecologist, plastic surgeon or general surgeon, and Board-Certified as such by a
nationally known and reputable association. The surgeon should have specialized competence in
genital reconstructive techniques as indicated by documented supervised training with a more
experienced surgeon. Even experienced surgeons in this field must be willing to have their
therapeutic skills reviewed by their peers. Surgeons should attend professional meetings where
new techniques are presented.
Ideally, the surgeon should be knowledgeable about more than one of the surgical techniques forgenital reconstruction so that he or she, in consultation with the patient, will be able to choosethe ideal technique for the individual patient. When surgeons are skilled in a single technique,they should so inform their patients and refer those who do not want or are unsuitable for thisprocedure to another surgeon.
Genital Surgery for the Male-to-Female Patient.
Genital surgical procedures may include
orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty, and labiaplasty. These procedures require
skilled surgery and postoperative care. Techniques include penile skin inversion, pedicled
rectosigmoid transplant, or free skin graft to line the neovagina. Sexual sensation is an important
objective in vaginoplasty, along with creation of a functional vagina and acceptable cosmesis.
Other Surgery for the Male-to-Female Patient.
Other surgeries that may be performed to
assist feminization include reduction thyroid chondroplasty, suction-assisted lipoplasty of the
waist, rhinoplasty, facial bone reduction, face-lift, and blepharoplasty. These do not require
letters of recommendation from mental health professionals.
There are concerns about the safety and effectiveness of voice modification surgery and more
follow-up research should be done prior to widespread use of this procedure. In order to protect
their vocal cords, patients who elect this procedure should do so after all other surgeries
requiring general anesthesia with intubation are completed.
Genital Surgery for the Female-to-Male Patient.
Genital surgical procedures may include
hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty,
placement of testicular prostheses, and phalloplasty. Current operative techniques for
phalloplasty are varied. The choice of techniques may be restricted by anatomical or surgicalconsiderations. If the objectives of phalloplasty are a neophallus of good appearance, standingmicturition, sexual sensation, and/or coital ability, the patient should be clearly informed thatthere are several separate stages of surgery and frequent technical difficulties which may requireadditional operations. Even metoidioplasty, which in theory is a one-stage procedure forconstruction of a microphallus, often requires more than one surgery. The plethora of techniquesfor penis construction indicates that further technical development is necessary.
Other Surgery for the Female-to-Male Patient.
Other surgeries that may be performed to
assist masculinization include liposuction to reduce fat in hips, thighs and buttocks.
Long-term postoperative follow-up is encouraged in that it is one of the factors associated with agood psychosocial outcome. Follow-up is important to the patient's subsequent anatomic andmedical health and to the surgeon's knowledge about the benefits and limitations of surgery.
Long-term follow-up with the surgeon is recommended in all patients to ensure an optimalsurgical outcome. Surgeons who operate on patients who are coming from long distances shouldinclude personal follow-up in their care plan and attempt to ensure affordable, local, long-termaftercare in the patient's geographic region. Postoperative patients may also sometimes excludethemselves from follow-up with the physician prescribing hormones, not recognizing that thesephysicians are best able to prevent, diagnose and treat possible long term medical conditions thatare unique to hormonally and surgically treated patients. Postoperative patients should undergoregular medical screening according to recommended guidelines for their age. The need forfollow-up extends to the mental health professional, who having spent a longer period of timewith the patient than any other professional, is in an excellent position to assist in any post-operative adjustment difficulties.
CURRICULUM VITAE Office Address: Cancer Research UK/Cambridge Research Institute Place of Birth: Date of birth: Education: B.Sc. (Molecular Biology) University of Melbourne (1st Class Honours), Melbourne, Australia Ph.D. (Cancer Research) The Garvan Institute and University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia Professional Experience: Research Assistant, Genomi
file:///C:/_PMI_NZ/PMI-NZ Board/Director of Communications Role/O. January 2007 January 2007 PMINZ Conference 2007New MembersFrom Our SponsorsAdvertisementsBranch News News in brief From the President Project of the Year Award Have you delivered a 'great' Happy New Year to all our members. Hopefully it was a restful festive season. ForPMINZ the new year brings farew