Phalloplasty is typically undergone by transgender men who are seeking gender confirmation surgery. It can also be used to reconstruct the penis in people who have been injured or born with a congenital condition that affects the penis.
The specific requirements for phalloplasty vary depending on the individual’s anatomy and goals for the surgery. However, in general, phalloplasty involves the following steps:
- The surgeon takes a large section of skin and tissue (flap) from another area of the body, such as the arm, thigh, or abdomen.
- The flap is then rolled to form a shaft, and it is attached to the groin.
- Additional procedures may be performed to:
- Remove female genitals (in transgender men)
- Extend the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the body) so that the person can urinate while standing
- Construct a scrotum or head of the penis (glans)
- Implant an erectile device to enable erections
Phalloplasty is a complex surgery that typically requires multiple procedures. It can be a long and challenging process, but it can be very rewarding for those who are seeking gender confirmation.
Here are some of the factors that may affect a person’s decision to undergo phalloplasty:
- Gender dysphoria: The feeling of discomfort or distress that a person may feel due to the mismatch between their gender identity and their assigned sex at birth.
- Body image: The way a person perceives and feels about their own body.
- Sexual function: The ability to engage in sexual activity.
- Fertility: The ability to have biological children.
- Cost: Phalloplasty is a costly surgery, and the cost may vary depending on the individual’s insurance coverage and the surgeon’s fees.
Phalloplasty is typically sought by individuals who identify as transgender men or individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) who have a strong desire to have male genitalia as part of their gender affirmation process. However, the decision to undergo phalloplasty is a deeply personal one, and individuals who pursue this procedure often do so to align their physical appearance with their gender identity.
Here are some common reasons why individuals may undergo phalloplasty:
- Gender Affirmation: Many transgender men pursue phalloplasty as a way to affirm their gender identity and alleviate gender dysphoria, which is the distress or discomfort experienced due to the incongruence between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth.
- Improved Quality of Life: For some individuals, having male genitalia can lead to a significant improvement in their overall well-being and mental health.
- Personal Comfort: Some individuals simply feel more comfortable and authentic with male anatomy, and phalloplasty helps them align their physical body with their self-identified gender.
- Medical Reasons: Phalloplasty may also be recommended for individuals who have congenital abnormalities of the genitalia, injuries, or medical conditions that require penile reconstruction.