Aftercare Needs Following Gender-Affirming Surgeries: Findings From the ENIGI Multicenter European Follow-Up Study

Iris J. de Brouwer, Els Elaut, Inga Becker-Hebly, Gunter Heylens, Timo O. Nieder, Tim C. van de Grift*, Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: While much emphasis has been put on the evaluation of gender-affirming surgery (GAS) approaches and their effectiveness, little is known about the health care needs after completion of these interventions. Aim: To assess post-GAS aftercare needs using a mixed-method approach and relate these to participant characteristics. Methods: As part of the ENIGI follow-up study, data was collected 5 years after first contact for gender-affirming treatments in 3 large European clinics. For the current analyses, only participants that had received GAS were included. Data on sociodemographic and clinical characteristics was collected. Standard aftercare protocols were followed. The study focused on participants’ aftercare experiences. Participants rated whether they (had) experienced (predefined) aftercare needs and further elaborated in 2 open-ended questions. Frequencies of aftercare needs were analyzed and associated with participant characteristics via binary logistic regression. Answers to the open-ended questions were categorized through thematic analysis. Outcomes: Aftercare needs transgender individuals (had) experienced after receiving GAS and the relation to sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Of the 543 individuals that were invited for the ENIGI follow-up study, a total of 260 individuals were included (122 (trans) masculine, 119 (trans) feminine, 16 other, 3 missing). The most frequently mentioned aftercare need was (additional) assistance in surgical recovery (47%), followed by consultations with a mental health professional (36%) and physiotherapy for the pelvic floor (20%). The need for assistance in surgical recovery was associated with more psychological symptoms (OR=1.65), having undergone genital surgery (OR=2.55) and lower surgical satisfaction (OR=0.61). The need for consultation with a mental health professional was associated with more psychological symptoms and lower surgical satisfaction. The need for pelvic floor therapy was associated with more psychological symptoms as well as with having undergone genital surgery. Thematic analysis revealed 4 domains regarding aftercare optimization: provision of care, additional mental health care, improvement of organization of care and surgical technical care. Clinical Implications: Deeper understanding of post-GAS aftercare needs and associated individual characteristics informs health care providers which gaps are experienced and therefore should be addressed in aftercare. Strengths & Limitations: We provided first evidence on aftercare needs of transgender individuals after receiving GAS and associated these with participant characteristics in a large multicenter clinical cohort. No standardized data on aftercare received was collected, therefore the expressed aftercare needs cannot be compared with received aftercare. Conclusion: These results underline a widely experienced desire for aftercare and specify the personalized needs it should entail. IJ de Brouwer, E Elaut, I Becker-Hebly et al. Aftercare Needs Following Gender-Affirming Surgeries: Findings From the ENIGI Multicenter European Follow-Up Study. J Sex Med 2021;18:1921–1932.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1921-1932
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number11
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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