As you’re doing your research to prepare for your top surgery - or to support your loved one in their journey - it’s natural that one of your most burning questions will be: What does all this cost? Let’s talk about the cost of surgery, other expenses you might have, and what your financing options are.
For subcutaneous mastectomy, otherwise known as masculinizing chest surgery, chest resculpting, “FTM” top surgery (a term that’s falling out of favor because it implies a change of gender rather than an affirmation of existing gender), or simply “top surgery”, the cost varies and is based partly on the type of surgery you need. Periareolar procedures average $9,700 and double incision procedures average $8,700.
What Does that Cost Include?
The final cost of your surgery includes everything from your pre-operative appointment, to your anesthesia and surgery, to your follow-up appointments, and even your compression garment that you’ll wear during recovery.
Why Is It Expensive?
We understand—it can seem overwhelming to consider the costs of top surgery! Think about it not just in terms of what services are included (the staff involved in the surgery, your anesthesia, your appointments) but in terms of overall quality. Dr. Fischer is recognized as one of the top gender affirmation specialists in the country due to her skill, her passion for her patients and their quality of life, and the exceptionally high standards she maintains for her own work as well as every aspect of her practice and every step of your journey.
Top surgery is a very serious, life-changing, surgery that deserves to have the absolute best quality of care. Less expensive procedures may mean less-skilled surgeons or staff, less thorough care, a limited understanding of transgender patients’ needs, and higher risks of infection, scarring, asymmetry, or other complications. This is a case where you get what you pay for. We think that after you talk to us about your surgery, you’ll feel that your peace of mind and happiness with your new body will be worth every penny.
Will My Insurance Cover Top Surgery?
Unfortunately, in many cases, it won’t. A number of insurers have exclusions for surgeries and treatments specific to gender affirmation, classifying them as “elective”. More and more states are challenging these exclusions as gender-based discrimination, and some companies are changing their tune, but we’re not there yet. Some insurance companies will reimburse money towards the surgery, but there are stipulations and each insurer is different.
We do offer CareCredit, which is exclusive to health care services, as a financing option to make it easier for you to afford your procedure, and we’ll work with you on pricing plans and financing.
It’s ironic that social progress has created a setback: “Gender Identity Disorder” was classified as a sexual disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until the release of the 5th edition in 2013, because it was stigmatizing and inaccurate. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed it from their list of mental illnesses in the International Classification of Diseases manual in 2019 for the same reasons. DSM 10 originally listed gender dysphoria as a mental health disorder making it impossible for insurance companies not to cover it. New DSM has reclassified as Gender Incongruence and is now considered a sexual dysfunction. Many insurance companies will not cover it as a sexual dysfunction. The good news is that the same movement that re-classified gender dysmorphia to de-stigmatize it, is also working hard to ensure that it becomes illegal for insurance companies to refuse transition-related care like top surgery.
Other Expenses to Expect
One thing to keep in mind is the costs that come up outside of surgery. For instance, do you have paid sick leave from work for 2 weeks of recovery, or will you need to make sure you have enough money to cover unpaid leave? You may have prescription pain medication to help ease your recovery, and your health insurance plan will tell you how much of that may be covered.
You may have travel and hotel expenses if you’re coming to see Dr. Fischer from another state. We have a page with suggestions for local lodging that’s convenient and affordable.
You will need bandages, cold packs, and other supplies to keep your incisions clean and protected. Once you recover, especially if you started out with a large chest, you may need to shop for new shirts (one of the more fun expenses!) You may need car services to make local travel easier, especially if driving is uncomfortable.
After your recovery, you may choose to look into over-the-counter scar treatments to reduce the appearance of your incision scars. These vary widely, from inexpensive Vitamin E oil to top-shelf cosmeceutical creams.
Are You Ready to Move Forward?
This is a big step in your life, but if you feel like this is the right choice for you and the right time financially and emotionally, we’re here to talk to you about the path forward. Contact us online or call us at 410-308-4700 consultation to talk about your specific needs and expectations, and let’s get you closer to the body of your dreams!