Science Shows that Fewer than 1% Regret Having Gender-affirmation Surgery
Do people who have undergone gender-affirmation surgery regret what they have done, as so many anti-trans activists want you to believe? Research shows the exact opposite.
A scientific meta-analysis of the research relevant to the topic shows that only 1 percent reported regret about transitioning. Or as the authors put it”there is an extremely low prevalence of regret in transgender patients after [gender-affirmation surgery]”:
“The prevalence of regret in the TGNB [transgender and gender non-binary individuals] population after GAS [ender-affirmation surgeries] was of 1% (CI <1%-2%). The prevalence of regret for transfemenine surgeries was 1% (CI <1%-2%), and the prevalence for transmasculine surgeries was <1% (CI <1%-<1%).”
A meta-analysis is based on data from a lot of relevant scientific studies. A total of 27 studies, pooling 7928 transgender patients who underwent any type of GAS, were included.
Are there people who regret transitioning? Yes, and they need our support and compassion, but their lives should not be used to stop health services provided to trans people.
Moreover, many of those who do regret transitioning, do so because of the transphobic reactions of the people they meet, not because they were wrong about their gender identity. Indeed, this meta-study shows that the most prevalent reason for regret was the difficulty/dissatisfaction/acceptance in life with the new gender role.
This study is in line with a previous study of surgeons’ experience with regret and/or reversal of gender-confirmation surgeries from 2018. In that study Sara Danker and her colleagues found that surgeons who registered for the WPATH conference in 2016 and USPATH conference in 2017 (i.e. conferences for professionals engaged in transgender health care) reported very few instances of this type of regret.
Out of 22,725 patients treated by the cohort 62 patients had regrets. That is 0.27 percent.
The researchers write:
“Regret after gender-affirming surgery is an exceedingly rare event. Reasons for regret or detransition are diverse, ranging from change in gender identity to societal and relationship pressures to post-surgical pain. It is not uncommon for detransition to be associated with surgical complications.”
Bustos, Valeria P. MD; Bustos, Samyd S. MD; Mascaro, Andres MD; Del Corral, Gabriel MD, FACS; Forte, Antonio J. MD, PhD, MS; Ciudad, Pedro MD, PhD; Kim, Esther A. MD; Langstein, Howard N. MD; Manrique, Oscar J. MD, FACS: “Regret after Gender-affirmation Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence”, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery March 2021 — Volume 9 — Issue 3
Sara Danker, MD, Sasha K. Narayan, BA, Rachel Bluebond-Langner, MD, Loren S. Schechter, MD, FACS, and Jens U. Berli, MD “ A Survey Study of Surgeons’ Experience with Regret and/or Reversal of Gender-Confirmation Surgeries” Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2018 Sep
Illustration photo: Alfonso Sangiao HT Karoline