Gender confirmation surgeries jumped by 20 percent in the United States from 2015 to 2016, according to a new survey.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) survey says there were more than 3,200 “transfeminine” and “transmasculine” surgeries in 2016. Included in this number is everything from body contouring to full gender reassignment.
"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to gender confirmation," said Loren Schechter, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Chicago. "There's a wide spectrum of surgeries that someone may choose to treat gender dysphoria, which is a disconnect between how an individual feels and what that person's anatomic characteristics are."
The survey is the first ever done by the ASPS and includes data from 2015 to 2016.
One driver is that insurance companies are increasingly covering some of the procedures, making them more accessible and affordable.
"In the past several years, the number of transgender patients I've seen has grown exponentially," said Schechter. "Access to care has allowed more people to explore their options, and more doctors understand the needs of transgender patients."
Changing attitude is also behind the increase.
‘It’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve seen this dramatic increase in demand for procedures, it’s certainly a subject that’s more talked about,’ Schechter told Daily Mail Online.
Schechter added that until recently, there were just six U.S. surgeons who were certified to do both male-to-female and female-to-male genital surgery.
"The numbers are increasing, but one of the barriers is that there’s been no formal training program," he told the Daily Mail.
For those undergoing sex change procedure, surgery is usually just a part of the process.
"Surgical therapy is one component of the overall care of the individual," said Schechter. "It takes a team of experts across different disciplines working together to provide comprehensive care. I often partner with doctors who may prescribe treatments such as hormone therapy and mental health professionals who help patients through their transitions."