Testosterone and FTM Top Surgery
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Testosterone and FTM Top Surgery

If you are preparing for an FTM top surgery and have been surfing the Internet for articles and resources, one topic that will always come up is whether you have to be on testosterone hormone replacement therapy before you qualify for surgery.

Prescription sheet with hormone therapy written on it

This is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding FTM top surgery for transgender men, which is also referred to as subcutaneous mastectomy or masculinizing chest surgery. At McLean Clinic, we do not require our patients to take testosterone. Here’s why.

The FTM Myth of Testosterone

Testosterone is a masculinizing hormone. This is why the notion of taking in preparation for your gender-affirming or confirming FTM top surgery makes sense. With a masculinizing therapy, you will be taking a prescribed dosage of testosterone regularly with the intention of suppressing the estrogen production of your ovaries.

There are many options on how to take testosterone:

  • Injection (intramuscular application)
  • Skin patch or cream/gel (transdermal application)
  • Pill (oral application)

Transgender men go on testosterone therapy in hopes of reducing female qualities, such as the menstrual cycle, and inducing physical changes that are usually seen in men, say, rapid facial hair growth or mass muscle building.

While it seems an option for transmen who have not yet gone through an FTM top surgery to feel more confident and comfortable with their bodies, we will stress the fact that it is not necessary and mandatory in gender-inclusive medical facilities like here in McLean Clinic.

Where Does This Testosterone Idea Come From?

The largest contributor to the widespread belief that one must be on testosterone therapy before an FTM top surgery would be medical insurance providers. This is especially true in the United States, where you would have to be on hormone replacement therapy for a year to be eligible for coverage.

In addition, there is this unfounded rumour that being on testosterone will keep your breasts from growing back or becoming full womanly breasts again. This is, of course, not true. Bear in mind that the results of an FTM top surgery are permanent and irreversible.

Many blogs would advise going on testosterone because of its potential benefit to give you large chest muscles, which gives your plastic surgeon ample of space for muscular contouring. But push-ups and lots of upper body workout after you have fully recovered from your FTM top surgery procedure have more promising and enduring results.

How to Properly Prepare for FTM Top Surgery

At McLean Clinic, we always advise our patients to follow these pre-FTM top surgery steps:

  • Quit smoking.
    You should be tobacco-free at least 3 weeks before your scheduled FTM top surgery date. Smokers have higher risks for serious complications and a slower recovery rate.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
    You should be completely alcohol-free 48 hours prior to your surgery. Alcohol affects anesthesia and makes you vulnerable to complications.
  • Talk to your surgeon about current medications or supplements.
    During consultations be open and detailed as possible to your surgeon about anything that you are taking. This way, he can advise you accordingly on which ones to stop or are safe to continue before your operation.
  • Keep an active and healthy diet and lifestyle.
    As with any surgical procedure, it’s best to be in tip-top shape before your FTM top surgery. Doing so gives you better chances for a smooth and speedy recovery.
  • Take care of the little details of your post-surgery, such as your ride home.
    After your procedure, you won’t be able to drive yourself because you will have had a general anesthetic. Ask a friend or a family member in advance to accompany you or pick you up.
  • Plan in advance and clear your calendar.
    You will need to take it easy to rest and recover from your operation. File a vacation leave from school or work if needed.

Learn More About FTM Top Surgery

At McLean Clinic, we acknowledge the personal nature involved with an FTM top surgery. We believe that part of its success is working closely with a surgeon, such as Dr. Hugh McLean, who has a clear understanding of the psychological and emotional impacts involved and who is willing to provide assistance in this brave and bold decision.

If you have long been exploring the possibilities of going through an FTM top surgery but are having uncertainties if it is the right approach for you, we encourage you to visit us at McLean Clinic. We would be happy to answer all your questions at the comfort and privacy of our office.

Book a free consultation today!

January 17, 2020
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