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How Do I Prepare for MTF Transgender Surgery?

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It goes without saying that the decision to proceed with male-to-female (MTF) top surgery is a major one that should not be taken lightly. The results from it can be incredibly rewarding, allowing you to finally feel comfortable in your body. 

If this is the path you have chosen, there are some steps that can be taken in order to prepare for your gender-affirming surgery. These can help facilitate you obtaining the results that you desire while also serving to minimize risks.

Woman wrapping her breasts with gauze after surgery.

What Should I Do Before My MTF Transgender Surgery?

To prepare for your MTF top surgery, there are some important guidelines to follow. Ultimately, you need to adhere to the instructions provided to you by your plastic surgeon.

1. Stop Smoking

Patients should stop smoking at least one month before surgery and not resume it until at least one month after surgery. This includes cigarettes, other tobacco products, marijuana, and vaping. Unfortunately, even nicotine patches are problematic, having some of the same untoward effects as cigarettes.

These products can and have been associated with a variety of anesthesia problems. They also can impair the wound healing process, resulting in wound separation, delayed healing, wide scars, necrosis of tissues (dead tissue), and even infection. 

2. Stop Drinking

It is generally recommended that you not drink alcoholic beverages starting from ten days before surgery until at least ten days after. Alcohol thins the blood, which can lead to postoperative bleeding and the development of a hematoma. 

This can necessitate a costly visit back to surgery to address.

3. Avoid Blood Thinning Medication and Supplements

Blood thinners, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and Aleve®, should be avoided starting from ten days prior to surgery until at least ten days after surgery. This is because these medications can lead to postoperative bleeding and hematomas that require a non-elective return to surgery. 

High-dose vitamin E can have a similar effect as can other supplements and herbs. Prescription medications, such as Eliquis® and Plavix®, do cause bleeding and should also be stopped. However, this should be done only with the approval of the prescribing physician.

4.  Do Not Take Certain Medications and Supplements

There are specific medications and supplements that can increase anesthesia risk and should be avoided. Some specific examples include phentermine (for weight loss) and ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril® for blood pressure control. Consequently, it is important that you disclose the list of medications and supplements that you are taking so appropriate recommendations can be made.

Finally, unless otherwise stated, you can continue taking gender-affirming hormones. 

5. Arrange for Help

You will need to make arrangements to have someone to take you home from surgery. This person can be a family member or a friend. Ubers and taxis are not options. You will also need someone to drive you to your first postoperative visit—at least.

Someone will need to stay with you and keep an eye on you for around the first 24 hours. If you will need postoperative help for other reasons, make sure arrangements are made before your surgery. 

6. Follow All Instructions Provided by Dr. Turkeltaub/Your Plastic Surgeon

This should actually be listed as number one on the list because it is the most important one. Everything else will follow. 

To help facilitate getting the best results, you need to follow the instructions and recommendations provided by your plastic surgeon. A corollary to this is if you have any questions before or after your surgery—make sure that you ask and get an answer that makes sense.

Schedule Today With the Arizona Center for Breast Surgery

If you are ready to take the next step in your transition, you can schedule your top surgery consultation with Dr. Steven Turkeltaub at the Arizona Center for Breast Surgery. 

Dr. Turkeltaub is experienced in MTF transgender breast surgery and can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Schedule today by calling (480) 451-3000 or filling out our online contact form.