Continuing from the previous blog post, doing research concerning transition and Genital Reassignment Surgery (GRS) is very important. The older term SRS (Sexual Reassignment Surgery) is still used by some. Please review this page in the Gender Learning Center (Click here) for assistance in your research.
SRS/GRS is not as complicated as one would think. The procedure has been done now for over 50 years and lately the surgeons are getting very good at it. Some of the issues to be concerned with are logistics, cost and convenience. The skill of the surgeon is a very hot topic and while this is important, it is not as big an issue as it would seem. Depending on where the surgery is done, most countries have strict standards doctors must abide by, especially since surgery and medical care has become a commodity that brings in big money. Thailand and India are emerging as world leaders in this market so they definitely deserve a close look and your consideration when it comes to choosing your surgeon and location. The price you pay is many hours in a plane traveling across the world to save a few thousand dollars. When you can barely sit down, being in an airplane for 20+ hours is not appealing. Of course there are options to cope with this such as meds and cushions. From what I hear it is worth the trip.
The USA has several very good surgeons now doing SRS/GRS, so look closely at the local options. Most gender therapists will know who they are as do the gender support groups. I will not list them here because I would leave some out and that is not my purpose here. The informational sites I list on my website do include several surgeons, however I chose them on the basis of information provided, not on how good the surgeon is. If you have questions or need help finding someone close to you I am happy to assist. See the website Unity in Gender Diversity.
Logistics includes things like travel, housing, post care, assistance during recovery, preparations before surgery, documentation (passport, proper ID, surgery letters from your therapist), and medical records. Each surgeon will have requirements for you to meet, and they give ample advanced notice in most cases, however it is prudent to research this, so you are prepared. Call it peace of mind.
Cost is an issue that we all are acutely aware of. Many options exist however it is recommended that you get references from the surgeon you choose and make sure the location has the resources to provide safe and effect treatment in the event of an unexpected emergency. The costs include, travel, housing, food, surgeon fees, hospital fees, operating room fees, anesthesia fees, and medicines. Most surgeons have package deals so make sure exactly what you are getting and what will be extra. The recovery time is at least two weeks and many take as much as six weeks, so another cost is time off of work.
Convenience is the last but not least concern when choosing a surgeon and location. It is not to be under estimated. From the many post op transsexuals I have talked with, being able to travel a short distance to the surgery center and home again is a real plus. The horror stories of being on a plane for hours and hours is something to consider carefully. Take into consideration your age, possible side trips, who will be with you, and your travel experience. Those who are seasoned travelers will be more inclined to go far to save a little money. I also hear that sightseeing in places like Thailand can make it all worthwhile. Don’t rule out locations such as Europe, Mexico, Caribbean, India, or Canada. Check with your local Gender support group for those surgeons who are close to you and be sure to check credentials and review customer satisfaction of others who have experienced their services.