Chest Reconstruction Surgery

What is chest reconstruction surgery?

Chest reconstruction surgery is a procedure in which physicians remove excess breast tissue and create a more masculine appearance for your chest. Chest reconstruction can allow transmasculine people to live more easily in their affirmed gender. It is often the only surgical step in the gender affirmation process.

The clinicians in the Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children's Hospital offer chest reconstruction surgery as a gender affirmation procedure to eligible patients who have documented and persistent gender dysphoria and who are over age 18 (or over age 15 with parental consent). Our skilled team includes specialists in plastic surgery, urology, gender management and social work, who work together to provide a full suite of options for transgender teens and young adults.

Gender affirmation surgeries are a group of surgical procedures that some transgender and gender diverse people use to help affirm their gender identity. Chest reconstruction surgery is a type of "top surgery" in which physicians remove excess breast tissue and create a more masculine appearance for your chest.

Who is eligible for chest reconstruction surgery?

People who choose to undergo chest reconstruction usually do so after taking other steps in the gender affirmation process, such as taking supplemental hormones. However, it isn't necessary to take hormones to qualify for chest reconstruction surgery. To be eligible for chest reconstruction surgery at Boston Children's Hospital, you must be at least 15 years old and meet certain criteria.

What happens during chest reconstruction surgery?

The specific technique used in this procedure can vary depending on your breast size and skin elasticity. In general, chest reconstruction surgery involves removal of most of the breast tissue and excess skin. The surgeon will also create a more masculine looking chest contour, including repositioning and reshaping your nipples, if necessary.

What happens after surgery?

You should be able to return to school or work about a week after surgery. Because the healing process can take time, you shouldn't engage in strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting in the first four to six weeks after chest reconstruction surgery. You'll need to follow up with your care team within three to seven days of the procedure. Your clinician will explain in detail how to care for your incisions and how to look for signs of infection.