It is safe to say that the goal of almost every trans woman is to acquire the all-so-familiar feminine curves and have an hourglass figure. While cisgender women have those naturally, trans women need to go through hormone therapy and eventually surgery to achieve that look. Gender reassignment surgery makes that possible through rib removal procedures. They involve removing the “floating ribs,” which are pairs 11 and 12 in your ribcage. This helps in shaping your waist and increasing the waist-to-hip ratio.
It is imperative that you find a renowned and experienced surgeon to consult you and carry out the procedure. There are plastic and transgender surgeons who specialize in rib removal. You need to communicate your goals with your surgeon, understand the process, risks, and complications, so you can make an informed decision.
As it is with every type of surgery, there are certain risks. One of the main complications you can experience is infection and bleeding. It is also possible for seroma (blood plasma from ruptured blood vessels caused by the surgery) to start collecting under your skin. You can also have bruising and soreness, as well as skin loss.
People who went through a significant weight loss prior to the surgery, as well as smokers, are at a greater risk of clots in the major leg veins and skin loss.
You can minimize risks by ensuring your surgeon is experienced and board-certified.
Your surgeon will determine your preparation for surgery which may involve blood and other lab tests as well as adjusted medication to ensure you are ready for treatment.
Once you are put under general anesthesia, the surgeon will begin the surgery by making two small incisions on both sides of your lower back. Since the 11th and 12th ribs are attached only to the vertebrae at the back and not to any tissue at the front, they are known as “floating ribs.” They are carefully removed from the ribcage, and the incisions are closed with sutures and surgical tape.
It is best if you stay in the hospital for the first few days after your surgery, so you are under medical supervision. Since those first days in recovery are painful, you will be attached to a patient-controlled anesthesia machine, or your nurse will administer your pain medication. You will also have a urinary catheter and drains. The drains will be removed within a week of your surgery unless there are complications.
One of the major concerns with rib removal surgery is the amount of muscle tightening performed during the procedure. If your muscles were very lax prior to the surgery, it will take about 2 or 3 weeks for you to be able to walk upright after the treatment. Upon the permission of your surgeon, you can resume normal exercise activities about a month after the surgery.
Once you have recovered from the rib removal surgery, you will finally have the feminine curves you have always wanted, which will help to significantly reduce your gender dysphoria. With the right surgeon, your scarring will be minimal, with the scars fading as time passes.
Depending on your goals, the average cost for MTF rib removal you can expect to pay is around $6,500 to $7,500.