With the extensive information available and scientific breakthoughs, transition is more realistic today than it was only ten years ago. So I had a chat with Dr. Sherman Leis to gain some insights as to what you should know about GRS before you lunge in.
(Brianna) Hi Dr. Leis, and thank you so much for giving of your time for this short interview. To lead off I'l lsimply ask, broadly, What should a patient know before considering GRS surgery?
(Dr. Leis) Before considering GRS surgery, a patient should be certain that they want to achieve congruence between their body and their mental and emotional gender. Also, they need to understand that the surgery is irreversible, and that they will be unable to have biologic children of their own -- unless they have stored eggs or sperm prior to starting hormone treatment, in anticipation of having surgery GRS. (Of course, a patient could stop hormones prior to GRS to salvage some eggs/sperm for future use).
How long should they have been undergoing HRT before hand?
The WPATH (The World Professional Association for Transgender Health) recommends patients be on HRT a minimum of one year prior to GRS.
How long does the surgery usually take?
The surgical procedure usually takes 4-5 hours depending on the size of the patient. Heavier patients take longer because of the increased time required for dissection of tissues.
How long is the recovery period, and should that be in a facility, or the home?
Our patients remain in the hospital for 3 days following GRS and then they stay in the area for an additional 8-10 days in a local hotel or in one of the recovery units at our office.
There has been much speculation as to the post operation ability to organism. Have you had any feedback from your clients?
The majority of our patients (98-99%) report the ability to have orgasm, some as early as 3 weeks post op and some as long as a year and a half after surgery.
Why should a potential client consider coming to you as opposed to considering other doctors/ centers?
I will answer this in two parts. There are few other surgeons in the United States with the same extensive surgical training and experience as me. I am fully trained and board certified in General Surgery as well as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, with special training in craniofacial surgery, breast reconstruction, aesthetic surgery, and genital surgery, with a high level of expertise with facial feminization surgery. Because of these credentials and experience, I frequently have visiting surgeons from around the United States and abroad that come to train with me in this field.
Both I and my staff go to great lengths to provide an extremely high level of personal attention. We understand the magnatude of these type of surgeries, whch is why I personally drive my patients to the hospital for surgery, and then see them at least once daily -- 7 days a week post-operatively. I also provide patients with my cell number and am available 24/7 (via phone, Skype, Facetime, and email) on a long-term basis after a patient returns home. Typically I will stay in touch and followup on patients for at least a year post-operatively.
Dr. Leis, thank you for the insights of this life-changing decision that so many suffering from gender dysphoria choose to make. I'm sure that this information will demystify GRS for many.
It was my pleasure. And don't hesitate to call me shoul dyou have any other questions.