Transgender Surgery 101: The Myths vs. The Facts

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Transgender surgery, known as gender-affirming surgery, is pivotal in the transition process for many transgender individuals, helping them to align their physical appearance with their gender identity. Despite the critical role these procedures play, they are often surrounded by misconceptions and misinformation. Dr. Alvina Won, a renowned surgeon with extensive experience in gender-affirming surgeries, understands the complexities and nuances of these transformative procedures. 

Common Transgender Surgical Procedures

Gender-affirming surgeries include a wide range of procedures tailored to the needs of the individual. Below is a concise overview of the most common surgeries:

  • Top Surgery: Involves breast augmentation or chest reconstruction to align one’s chest with their gender identity.
  • Genital Surgery: Includes various procedures such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, and metoidioplasty, which reconstruct the genitalia.
  • Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) or Masculinization Surgery: These surgeries alter the face to present more feminine or masculine traits, respectively.
  • Body Contouring: Includes procedures like liposuction or buttock augmentation to modify the overall silhouette of the body.

Each of these surgeries plays a critical role in the transition process, helping individuals feel more comfortable in their bodies and more accurately reflect their true selves to the world.

Myth vs. Reality

Myth 1: Surgery is purely cosmetic

Reality: While some procedures may enhance physical appearance, the primary goal of transgender surgery is to alleviate gender dysphoria—intense psychological distress that some transgender individuals experience when their body does not align with their gender identity. These surgeries are not cosmetic but essential, medically necessary interventions for many.

Myth 2: These surgeries are reversible

Reality: Most transgender surgeries are permanent and involve significant changes to the body. Reversal is either impossible or requires additional, often more complex, surgeries.

Myth 3: Everyone regrets transitioning after surgery

Reality: Regret after gender-affirming surgeries is rare. Studies show that the vast majority of individuals who undergo these procedures report long-term satisfaction and an enhanced quality of life.

Pros and Cons of Transgender Surgery


  • Alleviates Gender Dysphoria: By aligning one’s physical body with their gender identity, surgery can significantly reduce or even eliminate the distress caused by gender dysphoria.
  • Improves Mental Health: Many report improvements in mental health, with decreases in depression and anxiety, following gender-affirming surgeries.
  • Increases Self-Esteem and Confidence: Living in a body that reflects one’s true self can greatly enhance personal confidence and self-esteem.
  • Social Recognition: Surgery can help individuals be recognized as their true gender by society, which can improve personal and professional relationships.


  • Medical Risks: Like any surgery, transgender surgeries come with health risks, including complications from anesthesia, risk of infection, and the potential for surgical complications.
  • High Costs: These procedures can be expensive, often not fully covered by insurance, leading to significant financial strain.
  • Recovery Time: Recovery can be lengthy and painful, requiring time off from work and other daily activities.
  • Social and Emotional Challenges: Despite the benefits, undergoing surgery can lead to challenges such as societal stigma or lack of support from family or friends.

Contact Us

Are you considering gender-affirming surgery, or do you have questions about the process? Contact Dr. Alvina Won today to get the support you deserve. At Dr. Won Cosmetic Surgery, our team is here to provide support and information. We recognize the significance of accessing dependable resources and expert advice during this significant journey.