Gender-Confirming Vulvoplasty in Transgender Women in the Netherlands: Incidence, Motivation Analysis, and Surgical Outcomes

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Abstract

Background: Penile inversion vaginoplasty is the surgical gold standard for genital gender-affirmative surgery in transgender women. However, there is an increase of attention for gender-confirming vulvoplasty (GCV), in which no neovaginal cavity is created. Aim: To describe underlying motives and surgical outcomes of GCV in transgender women. Methods: All transgender women who underwent GCV were retrospectively identified from a departmental database. A retrospective chart study was conducted, recording underlying motives, demographics, perioperative complications, and reoperations. Outcomes: Underlying motives and perioperative complication rate. Results: In the period January 1990 to January 2020, 17 transgender women underwent GCV at our center. Most women reported that their motivation to undergo GCV was because they had no wish for postoperative neovaginal penetration (n = 10, 59%). This was due to a sexual preference toward women without the wish for neovaginal penetrative intercourse (n = 6, 35%) or due to a negative sexual experience in the past (n = 4, 24%). Some women desired vaginoplasty with neovaginal cavity creation but were ineligible for this because of their medical history (n = 4, 24%), for example, due to locoregional radiotherapy. The median clinical follow-up was 34 months (range 3-190). The postoperative course was uncomplicated in 11 (65%) women. Postoperative complications comprised the following: meatal stenosis (n = 2, for which surgical correction), remnant corpus spongiosum tissue (n = 1, for which surgical correction), minor wound dehiscence (n = 3, for which conservative management), and postoperative urinary tract infection (n = 1, successfully treated with oral antibiotics). One woman, who developed meatal stenosis, had a history of radiotherapy because of rectal carcinoma and needed 2 surgical procedures under general anesthesia to correct this. Information on self-reported satisfaction was available for 12 women. All were satisfied with the postoperative result and they graded their neovagina an 8.2 ± 0.9 out of 10. Clinical Implications: GCV may be added to the surgical repertoire of the gender surgeon. Transgender women with a desire for genital gender-affirmative surgery should be counseled on surgical options and its (dis)advantages. Strengths & Limitations: Strengths of this study comprise that it is from a high-volume center. A weakness of this study is the retrospective design. The absence of a self-reported outcome measure validated for the transgender persons is a well-known problem. Conclusion: An increase is observed in transgender women who opt for GCV; however, the absolute number undergoing this surgery remains small in our center. Postoperative complications do occur but are generally minor and treatable. van der Sluis WB, Steensma TD, Timmermans FW, et al. Gender-Confirming Vulvoplasty in Transgender Women in the Netherlands: Incidence, Motivation Analysis, and Surgical Outcomes. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

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