When considering which hospital to choose for your gender affirmation surgery, some important elements of your hospital stay go far beyond your surgeon’s expertise.
Comfort & Support
The caring and compassionate staff at Weiss Memorial Hospital is here to provide you with the emotional and physical support throughout the entire surgical process. From your very first appointment until your final follow-up, you will receive the unconditional acceptance that you deserve.
Medical Testing & Recommendations
You are a unique individual with unique needs, and Weiss Memorial Hospital understands that. Our doctors, nurses, physician assistants and lab technicians have the gender confirmation-specific expertise, training and experience necessary to provide you with the best medical care possible.
For almost a decade, The Center for Gender Confirmation Surgery at Weiss has transformed the lives of thousands of patients and that experience is right here waiting for you.
Resources for Supportive Follow-Up
Our hospital staff can provide you with a variety of community resources that will be helpful to you in the weeks and months following your surgery. Information about support groups in your area, finding a qualified personal therapist, or getting a referral to an LGBTQIA+ family counselor may be of interest.
Before, during and after your surgical process, we will continually check in with you to make sure that you have access to all of the resources you need to feel cared for, safe, and supported.
What to Expect Post-Op
Each person experiences a different healing process in terms of wound healing, pain level, and physical energy based on the surgery (or surgeries) you undergo.
Top surgery healing times will vary depending on the amount of surgical intervention. Breast augmentation with implants, for example, can be done on an outpatient basis and recovery time is one to two weeks, with extended movement restrictions for six weeks.
For mastectomy surgery with skin reduction and nipple repositioning, healing times may be longer. The insertion of drains to help reduce fluid build-up, for example, lengthens time to heal.
Bottom surgery recovery times and the length of your hospital stay also vary depending on surgery. For Vaginoplasty patients, expect to be inpatient for a six to eight day duration on average. For Metoidioplasties, usual hospital stay is between three to five days. For Phalloplasty patients, the initial hospital stay is 10 to 14 days, followed by two weeks in a skilled nursing facility. Then the patient returns to the hospital for a second procedure and will stay for approximately five days. If traveling from afar, expect to remain in the Chicago area for a week after your hospital discharge for follow-up appointments.
Your surgeon will let you know when you can resume normal activities such as working out, doing heavy lifting, or resuming sexual activity. General guidelines state that about six weeks of “light duty” is needed, but your doctor will give you specific instructions for your situation.
Your surgeon will tell you how much time off from work you should plan for so you can prepare properly.
Vaginoplasty Bottom Surgery
Vaginoplasty necessitates using a catheter in the urethra for about one week after surgery. A catheter is a hollow tube that extends from the outside of your body, into your urethra and bladder to facilitate urination. A bag will be attached to the outside tubing to gather urine. The bag will need to be emptied regularly into the toilet by your nursing staff while you are in the hospital. Your surgical team will monitor wound healing throughout your stay, and you will start to work with physical therapy in the days after surgery.
Additionally, vaginoplasty requires patients to gradually dilate their new vagina to stretch it to a width that will allow penetration to be comfortable. The dilation process will be taught to you at your follow-up appointment, and the frequency of dilation will change over time.
Phalloplasty & Metoidioplasty Bottom Surgeries
A catheter will be needed to help the body heal while urine is passing through the new urethra (if a urethroplasty has been done). Additionally, a suprapubic catheter will be placed during your surgery, as a back-up for urine outflow.
Urethral catheters will remain in place for one to four weeks depending on the surgery, and the suprapubic catheter will remain in place for a month or so after removing the urethral catheter. The catheter may be removed in the hospital or after discharge at your doctor’s office. You will be required to urinate through your neourethra (new urethra) to assess function. If you feel discomfort while urinating, your doctor will discuss possible reasons and advise you how to proceed.
A patient's length of hospital stay will be determined by their surgeon based on many factors, including the types and numbers of performed procedures. Patient safety always comes first. Typically, patients stay from zero to two days in the hospital. Patients should plan to be in the Chicago-area for one week after leaving the hospital. Being close will accommodate follow-up appointments. For example, drains may be removed at the hospital prior to leaving but surgical staples and nasal splints will typically remain until the follow-up appointments.
While you are still in the hospital you will work with physical therapy and possibly occupational therapy depending on your procedure. Your surgical team will be monitoring you every step of the way throughout the healing and recovery process.
Contact Our Gender Confirmation Specialist at Weiss Memorial Hospital
We are proud to be led by Medical Director Dr. Loren S. Schechter, who is a world-renowned plastic surgeon, specializing in gender confirmation surgery. As a member of the board of The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH.org) and a co-author of The Standards of Care (WPATH, v7), he has helped to advance surgical care for transgender and gender diverse individuals.
In addition to Dr. Schechter, surgeons specializing in craniofacial and facial plastic surgery, reconstructive urology and urogynecology have joined The Center’s expert surgical team.
Our entire multidisciplinary team is committed to providing you with the highest quality of clinical care in a warm and welcoming environment where every patient is treated with compassion and respect.
Contact us today at 1-844-696-9834 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schechter. Your best life is waiting for you and Weiss Memorial Hospital’s Center for Gender Confirmation Surgery can help.