Under a dozen people in the UK can carry out vaginoplasty or phalloplasty operations – and attracting new talent is tough.
The topic engenders polarized debate within the transgender community. Nowhere more than on internet support groups where, in the same thread, you will see some regard it as lifesaving and others as “frankendicks” that lack sensation and are “never good enough.” This body shaming would be unacceptable in any other context, yet it is routine with phalloplasty.
Currently, there are only about a dozen phalloplasty teams in the whole country — mine started putting their world-class skills to phalloplasty use partly because they could get paid for it by insurance — and up until recently there was still at least one surgeon who wouldn’t allow patients to keep their vaginas, not because it was medically impossible but because he didn’t think it was right to have both.
As patient goals vary widely, it is helpful to think about phalloplasty as a modular set of procedures that can be combined, mixed and matched to meet the needs of each individual patient while also taking into account their anatomy.
One of the most enduring dreams in medicine has been the possibility to replicate or replace human organs lost to disease or trauma. The phallus, symbolic of manhood, has received much less attention than the kidney, liver the heart or the breast, possibly because it is presumed that one can live without a penis.
With the trans community growing more visible, so has the cis fascination with gender confirmation surgeries available to people of all genders. But this fascination tends to be paired with enduring myths among cis and trans people alike
There are myths associated with phalloplasty, and this article covers three of them. For a more detailed look into what it's like to have phallo, there are many Youtube channels of transgender and non-binary folks who discuss the subject further...
“It’s not life-or-death,” “It’s cosmetic,” “You need therapy, not surgery,” and “It will burden taxpayers” are among the many toxic myths in need of exploding. Inspired, I decided to build on this conversation by considering the specific fictions concerning trans-male procedures and embodiments — and I hope to read a list generated about women’s gender-specific experiences as well.
A complete (re-)construction of a penis is done on both cisgendered men who have lost their penis through either illness or accidents, and trans men, that is, female-to-male transgendered or transsexual people.