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Gender Affirmation Surgery at UCI Plastic Surgery

Gender dysphoria is a mismatch between the gender you identify as and the one you were assigned at birth. This conflict can lead to stress, depression, and other adverse mental health outcomes. This phenomenon may be something you experience very early in childhood, or perhaps you started recognizing it as a teen or adult.

Someone who identifies as the gender other than the one they were assigned at birth is transgender. A person whose gender identity does not fit into a traditional male/female binary – for example, someone who identifies as all genders or neither gender – is gender nonbinary or genderqueer. A transgender, nonbinary, or genderqueer person may keep their gender identity private, or they may express it in their dress, pronoun usage, and mannerisms.

Gender affirmation surgery can bring your physical gender characteristics into harmony with your self-image. This empowering procedure can align your sense of self with the way others perceive you, reducing inner conflict and boosting self-esteem.

To learn more about gender surgery, contact UCI Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation in our Orange, CA, office. Pediatric patients should schedule a consultation at our office at Children’s Health of Orange County (CHOC). We work closely with the UCI gender diversity program. Click here to find out more.

We follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards of care in our approach to gender affirmation surgery.

Actual Patient Results

Comprehensive Gender Affirmation Care at UCI

Gender affirmation surgery can bring your physical gender characteristics into harmony with your self-image. This empowering procedure can align your sense of self with the way others perceive you, reducing inner conflict and boosting self-esteem. The UCI Plastic Surgery program works closely with the UCI Gender Diversity Program to provide comprehensive care for transgender and gender-expansive patients.  Click here to find out more about the UCI Gender Diversity Program. To learn more about gender surgery, contact UCI Plastic Surgery to schedule a consultation in our Orange, CA, office. We utilize the World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards of care as a guide to approach gender affirmation surgery.

Comprehensive Care Through CHOC for Children and Adolescents

UCI Plastic Surgery offers gender affirmation surgery for children and adolescents in association with the CHOC Gender, Puberty, and Sex Development Program. The CHOC GPS Program offers comprehensive medical, psychological, and support services to children and teens with non-conforming gender expression, genetic variations in their X and Y chromosomes, and with differences in genital development. Click here to find out more about the CHOC GPS Program. Plastic surgery currently only offers transgender surgical care for those 18 years of age and older.

What are the Benefits of Gender Affirmation Surgery?

People have gender surgery to bring their physical characteristics into line with their gender identity. By making their body match their gender identity, gender surgery can reduce a person’s emotional distress and help them feel better about themselves. Research has found that transgender people who have gender affirmation surgery experience long-term mental health benefits.

Is Gender Affirmation Surgery the Only Treatment for Gender Dysphoria?

Gender affirmation surgery is only one option for treating gender dysphoria. Many trans and nonbinary people choose not to have surgery, and those who have gender affirmation surgery often choose to combine it with other treatments and therapies. Nonsurgical treatments and therapies include:

  • Hormone therapy or puberty blockers provided by an endocrinologist
  • Psychological therapy to build emotional resilience and self-esteem
  • Voice therapy

Many people transition socially, with or without surgery or other treatment, by:

  • Changing their name
  • Using different pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them, xe/xir, or another choice)
  • Expressing their gender identity through their dress, hairstyle, and mannerisms

Who Is a Good Candidate for Gender Affirmation Surgery?

To be eligible for gender affirmation surgery, prospective patients must be stable in their gender identity and have documentation from their regular therapist and a medical doctor or nurse practitioner stating that they have persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria. A period of hormone therapy may also be necessary. Different types of gender affirmation surgery have various age limits.

Types of Gender Affirmation Surgery Performed at UCI Plastic Surgery

Facial feminization

  • Scalp advancement (to lower the hairline and shorten the length of the forehead)
  • Frontal and brow set-back (to shorten the length of the forehead and sculpt/contour the brow bone and sinus)
  • Brow lift (to shorten the forehead and raise the eyebrows)
  • Canthopexy and canthoplasty (to adjust the angle and shape of the eyes)
  • Temporal augmentation (to fill the temple region with fat/tissue grafting)
  • Rhinoplasty and septorhinoplasty (to feminize the nose and, in certain cases, improve breathing)
  • Malar augmentation (to sculpt the cheeks, using fat grafting or midfacial lifting)
  • Lip augmentation (to fill the lips, using fat/tissue grafting)
  • Lip lift (to decrease the distance between the bottom of the nose and upper lip)
  • Gonial reduction/contouring (to contour the lower jaw)
  • Genioplasty (to reduce and/or reshape the bone structure of the chin)
  • Laryngeal chondroplasty (Adam’s apple surgery)

Breast feminization

  • Breast augmentation with saline or silicone implants
  • Breast lipofilling (fat grafting to the breast)

Facial masculinization

  • Facial fat grafting
  • Gonial augmentation (to produce a more angled/defined lower jaw)
  • Genioplasty (to augment the bones of the chin)
  • Rhinoplasty and septorhinoplasty (to masculinize the nose and, in certain cases, improve breathing)

Chest masculinization

  • Breast reduction
  • Mastectomy with liposuction, as needed

Other gender affirmation treatments and procedures

  • Laser depilation (to eliminate facial or body hair)
  • Body contouring (liposuction, hip and/or buttock fat grafting)
  • Nipple tattooing

What to Expect Before the Procedure

In preparation for gender affirmation surgery, you will meet with different specialists who may be involved in the procedure and the therapies to help you get mentally and physically ready for the procedure. Before surgery, you will need to work with a mental health therapist to confirm you gender dysphoria and a stable gender identity. You may also meet with a primary care provider and a behavioral health specialist.

In consultations with the surgeon before the procedure, you will discuss your goals for the procedure, agree on a surgical plan, and discuss the risks, expected outcomes, and recovery process.

In some cases, other treatments, such as tissue expansion, may be necessary in the weeks leading up to the procedure.

How Is Gender Affirmation Surgery Performed?

Gender affirmation surgery can include a range of different procedures. Each patient’s experience is unique in the combination of procedures performed and their timing. We will review the specifics of the procedure or procedures with you, so you know what to expect.

Most gender affirmation surgeries take place while the patient is under general anesthesia. A hospital stay of between two and five days may be necessary for genital sex reassignment surgery.

What to Expect After Gender Surgery

Recovery times and experience will vary with the procedure performed.

  • Facial surgery: Expect noticeable swelling for the first two to four weeks and some residual swelling for up to four months after the procedure.
  • Chest surgery: Expect swelling and discomfort of one to two weeks after the surgery. Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for the first month, then a gradual buildup to normal activity levels.

Your plastic surgeon may prescribe pain medication, as needed, during the initial recovery, and will provide detailed instructions on when and how to resume normal activities.

Start Your Journey Today!

UCI Plastic Surgery is a leader in the field of cosmetic surgery. Each of our specialists is highly knowledgeable, trained, and committed to bringing our patients the latest advancements in the field. Learn how our experts can help you obtain industry-leading results by scheduling a consultation today.

Schedule a Consultation in Orange County

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about gender surgery. We’ll answer your questions and explain what you can expect from the procedure. We offer gender surgery consultations for adults in our Orange, CA, office. Pediatric and adolescent consultation scheduling is available through our office at CHOC.


The doctors at UCI Plastic Surgery are leaders in the field of cosmetic surgery. Through their teaching and lecturing roles at UCI, they stay current with state-of-the-art techniques and technology. With their advanced technical skills, they consistently produce better, more natural-looking results for their patients.