Everyone’s process of transitioning is different; there is no strict step-by-step checklist every trans person must follow in order to achieve their experienced gender. However, for many trans men and non-binary folks, the decision to undergo FTM/N top surgery is a major part of their transition experience.
If FTM top surgery is something that you have been thinking about, you have most likely done a lot of research on it. You have looked into the different surgery options, which surgeons have the best results, what the potential risks are… but have you considered the positive effects of FTM top surgery as well?
We will start with the most obvious positive effects of top surgery; the physical benefits.
Many trans men will bind their chests to reduce the appearance of their breasts in order to achieve a flatter, more masculine aesthetic. Doing so can help curb feelings of gender dysphoria (more on that later), but can come with some long-term health risks if not done correctly or with the improper materials.
Since most methods of binding involve the compression of the breasts, it can result in a variety of negative physical symptoms such as pain, skin irritation, permanent blood vessel damage, difficulties breathing, and even restricted mobility. It is even possible to fracture your ribs if you bind your chest too tightly or incorrectly.
Having FTM top surgery will eliminate the need to bind your chest, effectively decreasing the potentially dangerous side effects that binding presents.
Gender dysphoria is the struggle between a person’s assigned gender at birth and the gender that they identify as or their experienced gender. While it can affect people in a variety of different ways, those who have gender dysphoria can oftentimes experience feelings of distress or even problems functioning in their day to day life.
Most people will not express feelings or behaviours related to gender dysphoria until they go through puberty and their body begins to change in ways they no longer identify with. This can lead to an unhealthy resistance to hygiene practices such as bathing and other issues such as self-harming behaviour.
While FTM top surgery may not completely eradicate gender dysphoric thoughts and behaviours, one of the positive effects it can have is to significantly decrease them. Many individuals who have undergone top surgery (whether that is FTM/N or MTF/N) have stated how much it has helped them to feel more comfortable and at home in their own bodies; as if they are truly themselves at last.
Other mental health concerns that are unfortunately fairly common among transgender individuals include mood disorders, generalized anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While FTM top surgery is not a magical cure for these mental health concerns, gender dysphoria can play a role in triggering them.
In addition to the overall mental benefits of FTM top surgery, there are also emotional benefits. This can include a wide range of positive effects from decreased risk of depression to increased feelings of self-worth and confidence.
In order to live a happy and full life, whatever that may look like to you, involves self-love and healthy self-worth. While this doesn’t happen overnight, FTM top surgery can definitely help you start on the path to loving and appreciating yourself so much more. Having greater confidence can help to lead to building genuine and long-lasting relationships with your friends, family members, and work colleagues. This can also include finding a partner to share it all with.
There is no doubt that the positive effects of FTM top surgery oftentimes outweigh the negative. While it can be a very emotional and even challenging process at times, very few trans folks regret their decision to undergo top surgery as part of their transition to their experienced gender. Top surgery is a great option to improve trans men’s overall quality of life.
If you are interested in learning more about FTM top surgery, contact us today. We will be more than happy to book a consultation appointment with Dr. McLean so that he can answer any questions that you may have regarding the positive effects of the procedure and the operation itself.