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Safely Bind Your Chest Prior to FTM Top Surgery in Ontario

Posted by Dr. Hugh McLean on 20 December 2019
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Chest binding is an excellent way to reduce chest dysphoria and help you become comfortable with your body and feel confident expressing your identity. It is also a good stepping stone if you are interested in getting an FTM (female to male) procedure done but are still waiting for the perfect timing or weighing your options for top surgery Ontario.

Androgynous Person

Chest Binding Basics

Basically, chest binding is a breast compression technique done to flatten out and conceal feminine breasts in order to achieve a more masculine appearance. Unfortunately, binding may result in negative health complications when done incorrectly.

According to new research done by The Binding Health Project, the first and the only study on chest binding published in a medical journal, the majority of individuals—a whopping 97.2 percent—who practice binding admitted that, despite being an extremely positive experience that has helped them cope emotionally and psychologically, they suffer from at least one of the following side effects:

  • Pain in the back, chest, and abdomen
  • Skin reactions, such as itching, tenderness, swelling, rashes, chafing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Overheating
  • Chest pain
  • Postural changes

The qualitative report also revealed almost 50 percent of the respondents surveyed for this study were convinced that they have fractured their ribs as a result of chest binding.

The Dangers of DIY Chest Binders

DIY chest binding is not unheard of. It is an especially common trend among teenagers and adults who have no means of undergoing FTM top surgery in Ontario. Frequently, it involves improvising by wrapping the chest area using layers of random household materials such as:

  • Duct tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Ace bandages
  • Stockings or pantyhose

These things can have a harsh abrasive effect on the skin. They do not accommodate breathing, movement, or air circulation.

Another common DIY chest binding technique is the sports bra method. This involves wearing two tight-fitting sports bras back to back. They can be extremely constricting and therefore may be uncomfortable and cause difficulty breathing.

How to Choose the Perfect Chest Binder

The safest way to bind your chest is through the use of a chest binder or a compression shirt. There is a wide variety of chest binding styles available in the market today. You may need to explore different styles to see which works best for your body type and your lifestyle.

  • Long shirt – A full upper body binder that can be tucked into your pants. It effectively compresses the chest and stomach area.
  • Vest binder – Offers a zipper front closure for ease of putting it on.
  • Sports Bra – An undergarment designed specifically with compression in mind that resembles a sports bra.

Make sure your chest binder fits you perfectly. Do not attempt to get a size smaller to maximize compression as this is where the pain and discomfort starts. It should let you breathe and move normally and allow for air circulation. Opt for a binder that is made of soft, breathable material.

How Long Can You Wear Your Binder?

A lot of online blogs about chest binding before an FTM top surgery in Ontario suggest the “eight-hour rule” as a rule of thumb. However, experts have found that this length of time is enough to lead to adverse reactions even in commercially sold compression binders.

Listen to your body and take it off at any sign of discomfort. Take it off before bedtime. Do not wear it while working out or doing rigorous physical activities. We also suggest scheduling “off days” from chest binding to give your body a chance to rest and recover.

If you’re still not comfortable living your day-to-day life without binding your chest, a safer alternative would be to layer shirts instead.

Planning An FTM Top Surgery Soon? Bind Less

Scale back on chest binding in preparation for an FTM top surgery in Ontario. Binding has negative effects on your skin’s elasticity, which is crucial for the healing and recovery of surgical wounds.

Researchers have found that long-term binding can deteriorate the overall health and quality of the skin, which complicates and hinders the success rate of any kind of transition-related surgery, including FTM mastectomy.

Learn More About Top Surgery Ontario

If you have been contemplating about going through an FTM top surgery in Ontario for a long time but are having second thoughts, we encourage you to visit us at Mclean Clinic.

It would be a pleasure for us to be a part of this personal journey by providing expert medical guidance. We can answer all your questions about your options on transition-related surgery at the comfort and privacy of our office. Rest assured you will be in good hands as we have the best top surgery Ontario surgeons on our team.

Take the first step. Book a free consultation today.

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