Sex Change Surgery, Though Difficult To Obtain, Is Believed To Be Conducted Thousands Of Times Each Year
Transsexuality has existed since the ancient time. As medical advancement develops, options grow for those who wish to physically change their gender. With the rapid advances in knowledge of sex hormones and plastic surgery, sex change operation finally became achievable.
During the 1950's, the use of newfound sex hormones helped a large number of transsexuals obtain the physical features of the desired gender - bigger breast, softer skin and a more feminine of masculine figure. And during the same period of time, in 1954, American transsexual Christine Jorgensen was among the first to undergo a sex change surgery. Due to the success, sex reassignment surgery, also known by its abbreviated form SRS, became increasingly popular.
The most common purposes of such a surgery include:
- To assign one sex to babies with gender identity disorder, or
- To alter the sex for men and women who are physically a different sex than they are mentally. In this case, SRS is usually performed at the age of 18-21 when the patient is of a legal age to decide on medical treatment without having to ask the parents.
Most cases are known to be successful, especially conversion from male to female. Babies with an ambiguous gender are usually assigned to the female gender unless the male organ is more obvious.
Male to female surgery involves removal of the penis, reshaping genital tissue, creating labia majora,sensate minor and arousement with sensate clitoris with average 5-7 inches constructing a vagina. Conversion from female to male is more difficult due to the complication of creating a functioning penis from the female genitals. Besides the genital organs, the breasts need to be surgically altered (removal for a more male appearance, and enlargement for a female appearance). This stage is more easily accomplished.
There has been a report of 68%-86% overall success rates for sex reassignment surgery. Thailand is especially famous for offering such a surgery, so much so that advertisements are often seen in publications. Sex reassignment surgeries are relatively cheap and easy compared to the United States and Europe, and Bangkok boasts some of the world's most renowned surgeons. Some people have traveled around the world to receive a treatment in any of Thailand's 33 accredited hospitals that offer such a procedure. It is estimated that 1,500 operations occur in Thailand each year, and the cost can be as cheap as a few thousand US dollars.
The procedure takes only four to six hours, but follow-up is a lot of work. "It is just hard to motivate yourself to [get up to walk after the surgery], as being in bed is nice, but walking when it is time to walk is extremely important and necessary," said Audra, an American patient who underwent an SRS at Bangkok Plastic Surgery Clinic. "Make sure to following all instructions and never second guess those that are there to help you. They will not lead you down a road to failure; they will take you down the road of success." As more people travel abroad for medical care, they must be aware of possible dangers and complications that can arise when the patient returns home, as well as follow the instructions with extra heed. Side effects and adverse reactions might occur after surgery, and it should also be noted that most procedures are irreversible.