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Chest masculinization complications rare; info on risk for complications, secondary corrections needed

For transgender men who undergo chest masculinization, the surgical technique used neither affects the complication rate nor the need for secondary corrections when technique is selected individually.

Photo by Aiden Frazier from Unsplash.com

For transgender men who undergo chest masculinization, the surgical technique used neither affects the complication rate nor the need for secondary corrections when technique is selected individually. In fact, severe complications are rare, even if patients should still be informed about the risk for complications and need for secondary corrections.

This is according to a study – “Quality of Chest Masculinization in Trans Men: A Retrospective Study Evaluating Surgical Technique, Complications, Secondary Corrections, and Trends” by Mirjam Saarinen, Kaisu Ojala, Maija Kolehmainen, and Sinikka Suominen – that appeared in Transgender Health.

For this study, the researchers used data comprising all transgender men who received chest masculinization in Helsinki University Hospital between 2005 and 2018. Data were collected from patient records. Complications were classified according to the Clavien–Dindo classification.

The study included 220 patients with a median age of 23 years. Periareolar techniques were used on 117 patients, double incision with pedicular relocation of nipple areolar complex on 60 patients, and double incision with free nipple grafts on 32 patients. Ten patients were operated with other techniques and one lacked surgical technique information.

The study found:

  • Surgically managed complications occurred in 15.4% and minor complications in 43.8%.
  • Corrective surgery under general and local anesthesia was performed on 24.3% and 37.8%, respectively.
  • Patients with minor complications were significantly older than reference patients.
  • Surgical technique, comorbidities, body mass index, duration of hormonal treatment, and smoking were not associated to the development of complications or secondary corrections.
  • The proceeding to genital surgery decreased clearly over time.

According to the researchers, the surgical technique used by trans men in their chest masculinization
“neither affects the complication rate nor the need for secondary corrections when technique is selected individually.” In fat, severe complications are rare.

Nonetheless, the researchers stressed, “patients should be informed about the risk for complications and need for secondary corrections.”

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