Frequently Asked Questions

UW Health Gender Services Contact Information

(608) 263-7502
(800) 323-8942

 

Related Resources

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)

What standards of care does UW Health follow for transgender healthcare?


UW Health follows the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care.  

 

What is facial feminization?


Facial feminization surgery is a series of procedures to feminize facial features. Facial feminization may include open or brow lift, lowering of the hairline, rhinoplasty, mandible angle reduction, reduction of the supraorbital rim (brow bone), orthognathic surgery and setback of the frontal sinus.

 

Who is a good candidate for facial feminization surgery?


Trans feminine patients are candidates for facial feminization surgery. Letters of readiness from mental health providers are not necessary for facial feminization surgery.

 

What is top surgery (gender mastectomy)?


Top surgery, or gender mastectomy, involves direct excision of breast tissue with or without liposuction to create a masculine chest contour. A variety of incision patterns may be used, including peri-areolar, circumareolar and double incision with free nipple grafting. The specific technique used is dependent on a patient's scar preference as well as breast size and anatomy. This procedure is done under general anesthesia and patients typically will go home the same day as an outpatient procedure.

 

Who is a good candidate for gender mastectomy surgery?

 

Patients must be 18 years of age and have one letter of readiness for surgery by a mental health provider. Patients younger than 18 may be surgical candidates if the patient, legal guardians and mental health professional are in agreement that delaying surgery would induce patient harm.

 

What is vaginoplasty?


Vaginoplasty is a reconstructive procedure that includes orchiectomy, penectomy and creation of a sensate neoclitoris, labia minora and majora and neovagina. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and is followed by a inpatient hospital stay while vaginal packing and urinary catheter are in place.

 

Who is a good candidate for vaginoplasty surgery?

 

Patients must be 18 years of age and have two letters of readiness for surgery written by mental health providers. Patients must be on hormonal therapy and live in an identity-congruent gender role for at least one year. Prior to vaginoplasty, permanent hair removal must be performed on the perineum on skin that will be used to line the neovagina.

 

What is a phalloplasty?


Phalloplasty is the creation of a penis using transplanted tissue from elsewhere on the body. It is performed with an urologist and gynecologist to remove the vagina and create a scrotum from the labia majora.

 

The goals of a phalloplasty are to be able to urinate in the standing position and to alleviate gender dysphoria. Implantation of scrotal implants or an erectile prosthesis is possible in a second procedure approximately a year after the initial phalloplasty. Donor sites for the tissue to create the phallus may include the forearm (radial forearm flap) or leg (anterolateral thigh flap) or a combination of both dependent on patient anatomy, BMI, and patient preference.

 

Who is a good candidate for phalloplasty surgery?

 

Patients must be 18 years of age and have two letters of readiness for surgery by mental health providers. Patients must be on hormonal therapy and live in an identity-congruent gender role for at least one year.

 

What is a trach shave (chondrolaryngoplasty or thyroid cartilage reduction)?


Thyroid cartilage reduction, chondrolaryngoplasty or "trach shave," is an operation to reduce the size of the Adam's apple on the neck in transwomen. It is performed through a small incision within an existing crease on the neck. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient surgery. This procedure may be combined with other facial feminization surgery or gender-affirming surgery.

 

Who is a good candidate for trach shave surgery?

 

Transwomen or gender-expansive patients with prominent Adam's apple are candidates for chondrolaryngoplasty. Specific letters of readiness for trach shave surgery are not required.

 

Do I have to be a UW Health patient to receive gender services?


No. UW Health accepts external clients. Please contact us at (800) 323-8942 for additional information.

 

How much does surgery cost?

 

UW Health fees are comparable to other surgery centers in the United States. Actual surgery prices will be given following the initial consultation.

 

Will my insurance cover any of the gender reassignment surgeries?


Clients interested in using insurance to pay for gender surgery should thoroughly investigate their options prior to making a commitment for surgery. We have pricing available for self-pay patients without insurance coverage.