How To Be Ready For Top Surgery
Whatever shape or form it takes, gender affirming care is monumental, life-saving care for the trans community. While it doesn’t start or stop with surgical procedures, a common form of gender affirming for non-binary and trans men is what’s known as top surgery— a type of mastectomy that helps trans folks remove unwanted breast tissue and achieve a flatter, more masculine-looking chest.
Like any other major surgery, top surgery can be a lot to prepare for— so today we’re going over the basics that you need to know: such as what happens during top surgery, how to prepare for top surgery, how to minimize the appearance of your top surgery scar, and much more. Let’s jump right in.
What Is Top Surgery?
The term “top surgery” can actually refer to a few different types of gender affirming procedures involving the chest, which is why it’s also sometimes known as “chest masculinization or feminization”. Essentially, these procedures work to remove or enhance breast tissue so that the patient feels more physically aligned with their gender identity.
Usually, however, when people discuss “top surgery”, they’re referring to masculinizing procedure (aka the removal of the breasts) so that’s what we’ll be referring to for the rest of this article as well.
Also known as a subcutaneous mastectomy, top surgery is a surgical procedure that removes breast tissue and excess skin from the chest. It is often performed on transgender men and nonbinary people, and, as we’ve discussed, it can be a pivotal moment in improving a person's physical appearance and self-esteem.
What Happens During Top Surgery?
There are two main types of (masculinizing) top surgery: double incision surgery and keyhole surgery.
|Double Incision Surgery
|The most common type of top surgery that creates 2 incisions underneath the breasts, then removing the breast tissue & excess skin.
|Keyhole Top Surgery
|A newer type of top surgery that creates only 1 or 2 small incisions around the areola. The breast tissue is then removed through liposuction. (Used for those with smaller chests)
Most surgeons will also contour the remaining chest tissue to give it a more masculine appearance during whatever surgery you choose.
Regardless of which option you choose, top surgery is a major surgery, and it is important to choose a qualified surgeon who has experience performing this type of surgery. Recovery from top surgery takes several weeks, and it is important to follow your surgeon's instructions carefully.
How To Prepare For Top Surgery:
Understand What Will Happen
It is important to know what will happen during your top surgery because it can help you to feel more prepared and in control. Knowing what to expect can also help to reduce anxiety and stress about the surgery.
There are a number of things that you can do to learn more about your upcoming top surgery. You can talk to your surgeon, read books and articles about the surgery, and talk to other people who have had top surgery— there are many transgender support groups out there (virtual & local!) that can be a vital resource for connecting with other members of the community.
Get Your Body Ready
Before your surgery, make sure to treat your body well— recovering from surgical procedures is a huge stressor. You can prepare your body for a quicker recovery by getting plenty of nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, getting lots of rest, and doing some light exercise before your surgery.
Be Prepared For Recovery
Recovery is different for everyone, but most individuals will need to prepare their home for comfortable sleep, and they may even need a caregiver’s help during the first few days. Keep in mind that top surgery is a major procedure, and there’s no need to feel guilty about asking for help.
Know What to Expect From Your Top Surgery Scar
Surgical incisions scar over – that’s just the name of the game. However, knowing what to expect (and what you can do about it) ahead of time can help you manage your expectations. Most surgeons who perform this surgery are well-versed in placing incisions where they will be minimally visible. You can talk to your surgeon beforehand to get a better idea about your unique situation.
Get Your Scar Treatment Care Lined Up
You do have options when it comes to scar care and the reduction of the appearance of your scars, so have it ready for when your wounds close up. Here at Rejuvaskin, we follow the most up-to-date scientific research on scar treatment, and we use silicone in all of our scar healing products. In fact, you’ll find most of these products in our Scar Heal Kit.
Rejuvaskin’s Scar Heal Kit: Everything You Need Post-Top Surgery
We’ve developed the scar heal kit in a variety of shapes and sizes so that everyone can find a scar healing solution that fits their unique needs. Check out our complete scar management collection today or order your Scar Heal Kit for after your top surgery!