Lack of access to affordable sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) is one of the biggest challenges facing America’s transgender individuals. SRS, also known as gender reassignment surgery, is a term for the surgical procedures by which a person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the other sex.
The actual process of physically transforming oneself from a female to male (F to M), or male to female (M to F), through gender reassignment surgery can often take years to accomplish. Unfortunately, many transgender individuals are never able to fully complete their transition.
Some of the biggest challenges include the fact that SRS procedures are very expensive in the U.S., typically not covered by health insurance, and only a few doctors in the U.S. specialize in these types of surgeries. In order for an individual to transition, they may need to undergo hormone therapy, psychotherapy treatment and other related medical treatments. Due to the limited access to care among transgender patients, even after completing the necessary requirements, the typical wait-time for treatment with a SRS specialist is between 12-14 months.
An innovative, cost-saving option to SRS: Medical tourism
Thanks to the growing availability of high-quality, affordable SRS procedures outside the U.S., there is now renewed hope for transgender individuals in America seeking a full gender transition from M to F or F to M.
This concept is also commonly known as medical tourism, whereby U.S. patients choose to travel across international borders to seek high-quality healthcare at a fraction of the cost. The average cost savings for SRS procedures, for example, in Thailand or Canada, are anywhere from 30-50 percent less than in the U.S. Additionally, because there is greater access to Centers of Excellence that specialize in SRS internationally, patients can receive the high-quality care that they need without waiting 12-14 months to undergo their procedure.
In fact, hospitals and specialty centers around the world, such as Samitivej Hospital in Thailand have become specialty centers for gender reassignment surgery. These Centers of Excellence boast U.S./U.K. or equivalently trained and Board Certified surgeons, nursing and medical staff that are English speaking, state-of-the art technology and quality outcomes that rival many U.S. hospitals.
Upon making the decision to travel internationally to undergo gender reassignment surgery, where should you start?
Step 1: Know your options– Going through an SRS transformation is a life-changing experience, and like any personal healthcare matter, it should not be taken lightly. Therefore, it’s important to be educated about all of your treatment options. Start by researching the international hospitals and surgeons that specialize in SRS procedures. You should also seek the advice of professional medical travel companies such as Satori World Medical, which offer the expertise and resources to ensure the safest and most comfortable experience when traveling and undergoing care abroad.
Step 2: Work directly with a professional medical travel company– While you always have the option of scheduling and coordinating your own SRS procedure and care, it is far better to do it with the guidance of an established global healthcare services company. There are a number of key benefits of partnering with a medical travel company, such as having access to a full-service team of professional advocates who are there to handle all details of your surgical trip. For instance, Satori World Medical’s Gender Transition Advocates coordinate all aspects of the patient’s care, travel details, and financial arrangements . This includes transferring medical records to the destination hospital of choice, scheduling a phone conference with the international surgeon, arranging for all follow-up care upon returning to the U.S., booking all hotel and flight reservations, ground transportation, etc. As an additional perk, participating patients through the program can also redeem their frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards and other types of incentive programs to help offset their travel expenses.
Step 3: Know that you are not alone– Unfortunately, when it comes to the issue of transgenderism, discrimination and judgment still exist in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. However, fortunately transgender patients increasingly have access to support systems and advocates, not only among personal friends and loved ones, but from professional advocates, as well. Lean on professionals, such as those that are available to you, which can help you make the best decisions and offer you the compassion and personal support that you need to complete your transition with the utmost comfort and dignity.
For more information, please visit Satori World Medical online at www.satoriworldmedical.com/transgender. Or, contact Satori World Medical at (866) 613-9686 or directly via their web site.
What is SRS or Gender Reassignment Surgery?
SRS includes a variety of surgical procedures associated with physically changing the anatomy of a man to a woman, or vice versa. Specific examples of sexual reassignment procedures, also commonly referred to as sex change procedures, include:
• Male to Female: Penile Skin Inversion, Sigmoid Colon, Tracheal Shaving, Breast Augmentation, Facial Feminization
• Female to Male: Metoidioplasty, With Phalloplasty, Mastectomy, Silicon Penile Implant/Silicon Testicle Implants and Uterus Removal
Other common, SRS-related procedures include Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), body contouring, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, jaw surgery, and facelifts.