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Navigating Your FTM/FTN Top Surgery Journey

Gender confirmation is quite often a confusing, complex, stressful and profound process that transmen and gender non-binary individuals have to face. Though everyone’s journey is unique, the daunting challenges that are faced in the process are not.

The Significance of Top Surgery

Gender-affirming top surgery, for both female-to-male (FTM) and female-to-nonbinary (FTN), represents a significant milestone in one’s life where there finally is alignment of one’s physical appearance and gender identity. The removal of a/the major source of a person’s dysphoria can’t be overstated. Undergoing mastectomies in order to create a masculinized or individualized nonbinary contoured chest are transformative procedures that support and affirm one’s gender identity.

Neutral female and male symbols are combined and set between female and male figures against a pink background

Emotional Aspects of Gender-Affirming Top Surgery

Undergoing gender-affirming top surgery is a multi-faceted journey that extends beyond the physical changes involved. Being able to emotionally navigate this process is essential for an overall positive experience.

Female-to-Male (FTM) Top Surgery – Sculpting a Masculinized Chest

FTM top surgery involves removing breast tissue to create a more masculine chest contour that better aligns with an individual’s gender identity. The following three incision options are the most common ones used depending on your specific needs and goals:

  1. Double incision free nipple graft mastectomy: This is the most common FTM top surgery technique. It involves relatively transverse incisions placed on both sides of the chest that facilitate the removal of the breast tissue and excess skin. The nipple-areola complexes are typically reduced in size substantially and repositioned for a more masculinized appearance.
  2. Concentric circle mastectomy: This approach is ideal for individuals with smaller chests and a relatively minor amount of “extra” skin. A circumferential incision is made within and around the entire areola that allows for a reduction in their size as well as tightening of chest skin. The eventuating scars can be remarkably imperceptible.
  3. Keyhole mastectomy: This technique employs an incision involving just the lower half of the areola. There is no skin removal or surgical reduction in the size of the areola. It is most appropriate for very small breasts with no skin laxity and smaller areola.

Female-to-Nonbinary (FTN) Top Surgery – The Right Technique

FTN top surgery can be very personalized so as to provide one with the exact appearance that is being sought. It can be accomplished with the same approaches used in FTM top surgery as outlined above or with additional variations. This can involve the permanent removal of the nipple-areola complexes or variations in their size and location.

The Inverted-T (anchor-shaped) incision may be used for those who want a more androgynous appearance that offers flexibility in gender expression.

FTM/FTN Top Surgery Recovery

The recovery process is also of major importance in affecting the ultimate results following FTM or FTN top surgery. Therefore, it is critically important to adhere to the specific postoperative instructions, including restrictions and limitations, which are given to you by your plastic surgeon.

Non-compliance can quite adversely impact your results—short and long-term.

Follow your plastic surgeon’s recommendations!

The recovery timeline for top surgery depends on multiple factors that extend beyond the surgical technique used. It can be quite individualized – affected by factors such as health, nutrition, genetics, diet, physical requirements and activity levels.

Finding Your Phoenix, AZ, Top Surgery Specialist

The process of FTM/FTN top surgery can be stressful and anxiety-provoking, as well as a time of self-revelation and celebration of your aligned gender identity.

Dr. Steven Turkeltaub and his staff are committed to helping transgender, gender non-binary and gender expansive patients navigate the top surgery portion of their gender affirmation process with as little stress and anxiety as possible.

They strive to make this part of your journey pleasant, positive, supportive and exciting.

Dr. Turkeltaub is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has years of experience performing gender-affirming top surgery. If you have any questions about top surgery or would like to schedule a consultation with him, please call us at (480) 451-3000 or contact us by email.

We look forward to partnering with you on your transition journey.