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MTF Surgery Procedures » MTF Vaginoplasty

Vaginoplasty *Without* Pre-Operative Hair Removal. Possible? Yes!

MTF Vaginoplasty *Without* Hair Removal. Possible? Yes!If you are well into your journey toward Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS), you may have heard that many, if not most surgeons require hair removal in the genital area prior to surgery. While there are sound technical reasons for surgeons to require this, what many patients do not know is that there is a surgical technique that eliminates the need for hair removal prior to Vaginoplasty. Given the choice, would you prefer to go to a surgeon who takes care of hair removal intra-operatively, or have a procedure that requires the long, expensive and often painful route of pre-operative hair removal?

In the context of Vaginoplasty with creation of a neovaginal cavity, getting rid of hair is important. Depending on the surgeon's preferences, you may need to ensure that the scrotum, perineum and penile shaft are all hair-free. If any tissue used for the neovagina is still hair-bearing, hair can grow in the vagina and around the vaginal opening, which is difficult to treat post-operatively. This can cause both aesthetic and functional concerns. Genital electrolysis, and increasingly laser hair removal, is performed prior to GRS to avoid these problems.

The timeframe for genital electrolysis varies somewhat person to person, but you should plan on about 6 sessions separated by 6 weeks, over a year. Hair removal should be completed at least 3 months before surgery. The cost will be in the area of $2000-3000. Some surgeons recommend laser hair removal instead of electrolysis, and laser can be less painful and faster (and sometimes, but not always cheaper.)

Either way, you are staring down about a year of exposing yourself to hot pokes in your privates! Is there another way??

Dr. Kathy Rumer - Gender Reassignment SurgeryYes, pre-operative hair removal can be avoided if your surgeon uses a technique that removes the hair during your surgery! Noted GRS surgeon and Director of the Transgender Surgery Fellowship Training Program at Hahnemann University Hospital, Dr. Kathy Rumer, uses such a technique. The tissue to be used as a graft for the neovagina is first de-fatted, to allow access to the hair follicles from the bottom side of the tissue. The follicles are then meticulously cauterized using a Bovie catheter. The de-fatted and cauterized tissue is then used as part of the neo-vaginal graft. All follicles in the graft, both resting and active, are removed so there is generally no hair growth after surgery. Dr. Brassard in Montreal and surgeons in Thailand also employ a similar method.

If you are considering Gender Reassignment Surgery, ask your prospective surgeon(s) about whether or not they cauterize hair follicles intra-operatively, or if they will require you to undergo pre-operative hair removal. If you plan to do genital electrolysis or laser hair removal, be sure to check with your surgeon about their technique and preferences before you start.

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Last updated: 01/11/18