How Much Does Gender Reassignment Surgery Cost?
A gender reassignment surgery will be a series of operations that can take up to a few years to complete. Since there are so many surgeries involved in this, there are many paths that a patient can take to complete a gender reassignment. Although your gender is determined at the time of conception, there are some people who feel that their minds and bodies do not match up.
How much is it?
- Before the surgery even begins, a patient will have to undergo counseling sessions to make sure that they are a good fit for the surgery. These sessions can cost anywhere from $75 to $150, and to go forward with the procedure, a letter from the therapist will be needed. After a year of counseling has been performed, a patient should expect to spend a total of $2,000 to $4,000. Aside from counseling, hormone therapy can cost an additional $200 to $1,500 for the year, depending on the hormones prescribed.
- Once a patient is approved for the procedure, the average patient should expect to spend anywhere from as little as $10,000 for a simple reconstruction to as much as $55,000 for complex procedures that include altering the face. The total price will really depend on the procedure used and how much is going to be done. Since this procedure is deemed cosmetic, most health insurance providers won’t cover it. Most procedures will typically be between the $10,000 to $30,000 range.
- According to Surgeryencyclopedia.com, the average cost for a male-to-female reassignment is $7,000 to $24,000. The cost for female-to-male can exceed $50,000.
- Tgender.net claims that the average cost for male-to-female is around $17,000. However, you have to add in an additional $1,000 for therapy; $1,500 for hormones; and $500 for doctor visits.
- Dr. Bowers, located in Colorado, charges $23,000 for a male-to-female procedure. An orchiectomy will cost an additional $4,300.
What is going to be included?
- Gender reassignment surgeries are often done by doctors who specialize as gynecologists or plastic surgeons.
- During a female-to-male procedure, the most common procedure used is known as an elective bilateral mastectomy. This is when the tissue and fat are removed to create a male-like nipple. A metoidioplasty, another popular procedure, will remove skin around the vagina, extending the skin to create male genitalia. Depending on the patient’s request, the urinary tract can be lengthened to allow the patient to be able to stand while urinating.
- During a male-to-female procedure, the most common procedures include a breast augmentation and a bilateral orchiectomy. A bilateral orchiectomy is the process of removing both testicles via an incision, which will help reduce the male hormones. A tracheal shave, which is also performed, will shave the Adam’s apple to make it less visible. Lastly, a vaginoplasty will use the skin and tissue to create female genitalia.
- Common risks with this surgery involved are swelling, pain and possible death due to anesthesia. Always consult with a professional to know your risks.
What are the extra costs?
- Patients should expect to spend $25 to $150 per month for hormone therapy. The costs, as stated above, will greatly depend on which hormones are prescribed.
- If psychotherapy is needed, this can cost an additional $100 to $225 per session.
- Other optional cosmetic procedures, such as laser hair removal, can cost upwards of $2,000 to $4,000. The costs can depend on how much hair needs to be removed.
- A voice coach to help the patient work with his voice can cost $40 to $75 per session.
- To change the person’s gender on official documents such as birth certificate, a lawyer will often be needed for the process.
- A skin graft, if required, could cost an additional $2,000 or so.
Tips to know:
- Before choosing a doctor, always make sure that you get someone who is experienced. There are very few surgeons in the United States who specialize in gender reassignment surgeries. It is best to get referrals and talk with local patients who have had the surgery done before.
- All patients must be at least 18 years old, have one year of therapy, and live one year successfully as the other gender before they can be considered for gender reassignment surgery.
- Between 100 to 500 gender-reassignment surgeries are performed every year in the United States.
Questions to ask a doctor
- What will my body look like after the surgery is performed?
- What certifications do you hold?
- How many procedures have you performed?
- What is the complication rate?
How can I save money?
- If a patient is planning on getting more than one surgery, consider working out a discount for future surgeries. Many surgeons are more than happy to offer cash discounts.
- While rare, some health insurance companies do cover this procedure. It never hurts to talk with your health insurance provider to know what is covered. If covered, the patient is typically reliable for deductibles and co-pays.