Gender Reassignment Surgery

Gender Reassignment Surgery


National Health Service, UK
[Abstract] Full Text [PDF]


Gender reassignment surgery, commonly known as a sex-change operation, is the surgical treatment sometimes given to people who are convinced that they are of the wrong anatomical sex, a condition known as gender dysphoria, otherwise known as transsexual.

However, the term ‘transsexual’ also includes people with ambiguous genitalia who have been thought to be male but are genetically female.

Before gender reassignment surgery is considered, a detailed psychiatric and psychological evaluation is made. This is to ensure that the transsexual person has considered the full implications of the operation and believes it to be the best course of action.

The transsexual person must have experienced the desire to undergo sexual reassignment for at least two years and must also take part in a trial period of dressing and living as a member of the opposite sex.

Why is it necessary?

Transsexual people are convinced that their bodies are of the wrong sex. They have all the emotional reactions, preferences, tastes and desires of the opposite sex and wish to live and be treated as members of that sex.

In some cases, their parents may have treated them from birth as if they were of the opposite sex, often because the parents wanted a baby of that sex. This early environmental conditioning may be more powerful than the genetic influences.

Why it should be done

When extensive psychological testing has fully established that someone is genuinely transsexual, is suffering from no psychiatric disorder, and cannot ever be happy with the present anatomical sex, reassignment surgery should be offered.

How it is performed

Female-to-male surgery involves Mastectomy to remove the breasts, followed by removal of the uterus and ovaries. Construction of a penis may then be attempted by grafting abdominal skin over a catheter.
Operations for ambiguous genitalia are usually done as soon as possible after birth.
[see the website for male-to-female surgery details]


In properly selected cases the results are usually highly successful to the people concerned.


Citation: published on the Internet by NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopaedia <>