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What Is The McLean Experience For FTM Surgery Like?

Posted by Dr. Hugh McLean on 24 November 2020
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Every year, McLean Clinic receives numerous patients both from in and out of the country for our chest masculinization procedures. We believe this overwhelming support is not only because of our commitment to provide the highest quality medical care and support for our patients in every way we can but also because of our mission to respect and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through what an FTM surgery experience at our clinic is like and why more and more patients are choosing Dr. Hugh McLean as their preferred top surgeon. 

Yuri Talks About His McLean Top Surgery Experience

In this video, a former top surgery patient from McLean Clinic talks about his life-changing FTM surgery experience and shares advice to other queer folk hoping to have their own gender confirming procedures.

Booking Your Initial Consultation

At McLean Clinic, we give our patients a fast, smooth, and hassle-free experience every step of the way. It all starts by booking your initial appointment with Dr. McLean. 

All you need to do is either:

  • Fill out the online contact form on our website, or 
  • Call our clinic at 1-855-375-1122

After a day or two, our patient coordinator will get in touch with you. You will be asked to take pre-consultation photos of the chest area and fill out a patient data sheet containing questions about your medical history. Once we have received all the requested information, our staff will reach out to confirm a date and time convenient to you and schedule your initial online consultation with Dr. McLean.

Person on a video call

Taking Your Pre-Consultation Photos

Your pre-consultation photos will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Dr. McLean will be able to evaluate your concerns properly and recommend the suitable FTM/N top surgery procedure for you. 

Here are a few helpful tips when taking your photos:

  • Choose a well-lit room, preferably with bare white walls or any solid-coloured wall without too many distractions
  • Take your photos in the highest image size and resolution available 
  • Use a digital camera to guarantee crisp and clear images instead of your smartphone 
  • Take several photos of your chest area while directly facing the camera, left side view, right side view, and at 45-degree angles to your left and right sides

Since this step involves taking photos of sensitive areas of the body, we understand that you may feel uncomfortable. We value and protect your safety and privacy above anything else. Rest assured your pre-consultation photos are handled with the utmost care and are only used for medical purposes.

Virtual Consultation with Dr. McLean

If you are holding back on booking an appointment with us because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is nothing to worry about because all our initial consultations are done virtually via video chat. You do not have to fly or drive a long way to our clinic in Mississauga before your scheduled surgery dates. This is especially helpful to aspiring top surgery patients from other provinces in Canada or another country where travel restrictions are still in place.

What to Expect

First, you will be greeted by our Clinical Director, Lorilei, who will give you an overview of how we do FTM/N top surgery procedures at the clinic. During this call, you will be able to ask any questions or voice your concerns. 

After this, you will be connected with Dr. McLean for the consultation. As many of our former top surgery patients share, he respects non-binary patients. He understands that the bold decision to transition is a significant turning point in one’s life that involves a rollercoaster of emotions. He may ask questions about your gender identity or expression, your social transition experience, and if you’ve had counselling or mandatory testosterone treatment

Dr. McLean will discuss which of the top surgery procedures you hoped to have and provide you with an assessment based on the pre-consultation photos and information on the patient datasheet. He will then give his expert opinion on the best surgical technique that he feels will meet your aesthetic requirements, as well as the benefits of this specific technique, the potential risks and the complications involved. 

Before wrapping up, Dr. McLean will answer any inquiries that you may have. We encourage you to be as vocal as possible about any concerns so that they can be addressed accordingly. These may include the most frequently asked questions about top surgery, such as:

McLean Clinic uses informed consent, which means a referral letter from your psychiatrist is not necessary to proceed with the top surgery. 

 A calendar counting down the days

Setting a Date for Your FTM Surgery

After the virtual consultation, our patient coordinator will provide you with the necessary information about the cost of your FTM/N top surgery and flexible payment channels where you can settle the amount. We require a 10% deposit to reserve a surgery date for you. The remaining balance should be settled at least two weeks before the scheduled operation. 

In addition, you will also be given a patient information booklet and an out-of-town guide, which contains everything you need to know to prepare for your procedure accordingly. 

Usually, we can schedule your surgery date with Dr. McLean within 18 days to a month after your virtual consultation. However, if you need more time to gather funding for your surgery or just need more time to process, don’t hesitate to let us know so we can make the necessary arrangements for you.

What to Expect During Top Surgery

On average, an FTM/N top surgery can take approximately 1.5 to 4 hours. To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of a typical FTM surgery experience at McLean Clinic. 

  • You will be taken to a private room where you will change into a hospital gown and leave your belongings.
  • Our medical staff will administer antibiotic medications and set you up with an IV drip.
  • Dr. McLean will ask you if you have any questions for him and reassure you that everything will be okay if you’re feeling nervous. He is going to do some measurements and mark the treatment area. While doing this, he may discuss where he’ll make the nipple grafts and where the incisions will be strategically placed, usually along the chest’s natural contours to make the scars inconspicuous. 
  • You will be transferred to our operating room, where you will be connected to a heart monitor and hooked up to oxygen support to help you breathe during the operation.
  • Our anesthesiologist will put you on intravenous sedation and general or local anesthesia to ensure that you have a comfortable treatment experience. 
  • Dr. McLean will perform the mastectomy to remove the breast tissues using the top surgery technique—a double-incision mastectomy or keyhole (periareolar) incision— that best suits your body shape and aesthetic goals. Sometimes an excision technique may also be done to remove excess skin tissue around the chest area. 
  • In some cases, the areola will also be reduced in size, and the nipple will be repositioned to achieve a more flat and masculine-looking chest. The preferred surgical technique will be discussed with you in detail during the initial consultation and prior to setting your top surgery date.
  • Body contouring procedures may also be done around the chest area, arms, or abdominal region to achieve a more masculine physique. Depending on your aesthetic goals, Dr. McLean may do liposuction, tummy tuck, brachioplasty, or a combination of these cosmetic surgical procedures.
  • Top surgery is an outpatient procedure. Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will spend a few hours until you wake up from anesthesia. Dr. McLean will check on you and provide you with post-surgery care instructions before giving you clearance to go home. 
  • You will be wheeled out of the recovery room to the receiving area where your family or partner stays while waiting for you. If you have arranged for a private car rental service to take you home instead, one of our friendly staff will assist you and ensure that you have reached your hotel or accommodation safely.

Recovery Process

Dr. McLean will ask you to come back for a follow-up appointment at least seven days after your top surgery. He will remove all the dressings and check on how your surgical wounds are healing as well. Should you have any pressing concerns or weird encounters during your recovery phase, use this chance to ask him all about it.

Most top surgery patients report that they find themselves able to recover their strength and return to their everyday routine within two weeks post-surgery. Avoid putting unnecessary strain on your upper body to avoid the risks of bleeding or swelling. We encourage you to listen to your body. Be patient and take your time to slow down and allow your body to recuperate fully. 

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