There is a really toxic side of the trans (masc. in particular) community where people are insanely nasty towards other’s surgeries and medical progress. You see way too many comments about penises being too “small” or “unrealistic” or “ugly”, and scars being “too obvious” or “too stretched”. Like.. you do realise that someone has made the decision to put something so personal online to provide education and help for us right? And you’re completely disrespecting them? Making the people in your own community feel like complete shit about their bodies which is.. you know.. what transphobic people do..? Are you aware that the information you’ve found online these days would not exist if it wasn’t for people sharing their experiences? Do you really expect people to continue being so open when they’re just going to be ridiculed for having a slightly wonky penis or bigger nipples? You need to stop being nasty to these kind brave people who are trying to help this community and start respecting them, and thanking them for it. We need to be kinder to each other.
And then came surgery…..I had a glansplasty because it did not hold the first time (phalloplasty performed on June 24, 2015). The below picture is where skin was taken in order to build the graft. And below that is my mummy phallus coming out of surgery, all happy, and bandaged up!
Shown below: At 3 days post op, I attempted to change the dressings and xeroform. The xeroform was so stuck to the ridge or the new glands, then we called the doc and he told us we could leave it on until day 5 post op! So pretty soon, I will have pre and post glansplasty photos!
Going into this I was terrified at the thought of what my arm would look like post phalloplasty. I imagined it would bother me more. I imagined people would treat me differently or stare, but they don’t. My arm, the journey of my arm, is just another battle scar.
Here is a photo montage of my arm, that was used as a donor site for bottom surgery, from pre surgery to 11 months post op.
(A) the outline of the radial forearm phalloplasty flap on the arm. The lateral and medial antebrachial cutaneous nerves can be coapted to the ilioinguinal and dorsal penile nerves. The radial artery of the flap can be anastomosed to either the profunda femoris, lateral circumflex femoral, circumflex iliac, or the inferior epigastric artery. The venae comitantes and the cephalic vein of the flap can be anastomosed to branches of the greater saphenous vein. (B) Illustration of the flap following inset, anastomosis, and coaptation. Source: Semin Plast Surg. Aug 2011; 25(3): 196–205.
Top 5 things I would tell anyone having lower surgery
1. Prepare to need a HUGE mental recovery as well as a physical one! If I am honest, my emotional and mental recovery from lower surgery has been more difficult than the physical one. I think that’s saying a lot as I’ve had debilitating (temporary) complications too. I just did not expect to be so mentally shaken up by this surgery. I think expectations, losing a degree of my independence, complications and just the amount of time it takes up affected me more than I had ever expected.
Be sure to have support around you. If you’re feeling worried about something to do with your surgery then tell your surgery team. Often you can send a photo via email and have things checked. Utilise the local healthcare around you if you can. I was very lucky in that my district nurses allowed me to self refer and then were incredible. My GP surgery also has an amazing nurse and she has offered help and support to me every time I’ve seen her. Just be prepared that you may not feel happy from the get go. This surgery is done in stages so what you have after the first surgery is not what you will have at the end! It also takes a long time to heal and settle down. It’s taken over a year for me to feel more confident and happy with my results and I still feel I have a long way to go mentally in terms of this surgery and how it will change my life.
2. If you’re in the UK and normally pay for prescriptions - get a PPC! http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/1127.aspx I feel like this is kept a secret for some reason. I’ve NEVER been told about it by someone who works for the NHS and found out about it from another guy I know having surgery around the same time as me. There is a chance you may not need it as some people actually have no complications at all, but if you’re paying for just THREE prescriptions in a three month period then it will save you money. You can use it for post op dressing prescriptions, testosterone prescriptions… anything! If you don’t think you will need one and then it turns out you do, you can order it to start from a date and ask the pharmacy for a FP57 form when you pay, this way you can get the £8.05 refunded to you. Before I knew about the PPC I spent over £60 on prescriptions in less than a month as I was going through SO many dressings (this is due to a stupid system where district nurses cannot order medications and dressings themselves, they have to request them through GP surgeries and even I wasn’t allowed to request the items! Such a waste of time for the already busy nurses!)
3. Give things time to heal! I have spent many hours freaking out over the past 14 months. Probably works out to be many days actually, maybe even weeks. In the past I’ve had surgeries on my ears and my recovery has been simple, out of sight for the most part and to a degree nothing cosmetic. That is just not the case with lower surgery. Things take time to look less savage. It takes so much time for swelling to go down and skin and tissue to soften. Feeling and sensation can be lost from whole areas of your body for a LONG time. Things take time to heal properly and it’s probably longer than you think. The London team give you estimates of recovery periods. They’re decent enough estimates and for the most part they are the amount of time you need to be careful really. They are not how long it’s going to take for you to be back to totally normal life. Unless you’re close to super human you are going to find lingering issues that take a while to heal. For me after stage one it was the underside of the base of my penis, a large part of my arm where skin had to regrow and my buttock issue. It’ll probably vary from person to person of course, but some things take longer than the time specified by the team to heal fully. It took almost three months for the urethral fistula I had after stage two to heal. That’s not at all irregular. I spent a lot of that time thinking I would need another operation just to fix it. I didn’t. I just needed TIME!
4. Don’t compare yourself to other people! I have a terrible habit of doing this about my personal appearance, so I have found myself annoyingly comparing my surgery results to other people online. I actually left a Facebook group as I felt rather than offering me support it was actually making me feel worse (as there were photos people had shared). That was, of course, not a reflection on the help, information and advice shared by other members, but a reflection of issues that I clearly have with myself. Whilst I’m not a skinny person on my body, I DO have skinny-ish arms and this has meant that my surgery result is probably a bit smaller than a lot of guys. Prior to and after my chest surgery I went a bit mad on exercise and was running and lifting weights several times a week. It was great for my body image and made me feel mentally excellent, but at my first consult for lower surgery I was told that I’d need more weight on my arm, so I did. My healing hasn’t been straightforward either. I’m not sure if it’s getting older or what, but I just do not heal and scar as well as I used to. I’ve found when I concentrate on myself more and I don’t compare the size, scarring or healing to others, that I am far FAR happier with my results and everything they entail.
5. Manage your expectations! I suppose really this links in to the point above, but I do think it’s important. Whilst there’s a lot of negative and uninformed opinions online regarding lower surgery, there’s also a sort of bias in terms of results. A lot of the detailed and informative experiences that I found shared online were from people who haven’t had many complications, who have a cosmetically appealing result (in terms of size and healing) and often from people who are young and bounce back from surgery. I think a lot of people who experience complications and difficulties probably shy away from sharing their experiences. I totally understand that as even I suspended this blog for a while as I was just too upset to talk about things or share. That does mean that there’s a sort of bias online and that should be considered when making decisions and preparing oneself for surgery. Sure, things may go totally fine and you may have no problems at all. But just remember that things will likely look horrific to start with and that people don’t share all the nitty gritty photos of gross. Even I haven’t shared some of the more stomach turning photos of issues I’ve had. I feel I’m waffling a little on this point, but it is important to make sure you don’t expect a 6" long, cosmetically perfect penis that you can stand to pee from straight away. Size varies wildly from person to person, as does healing, scarring, cosmetics, sensation, timeframes, complications etc etc etc. Your own personal experiences will be different to others, so allow yourself to be positive about your experience but not to get carried away by what your end results will be like.
So yeah, of course they’re just my opinion, but they’re some things I wish I’d known or been more aware about when I first started my surgery journey. I think people would agree with them for the most part.
Things I had wish I’d known going into RFF Phalloplasty!
Bare with me because this video was filmed, edited, and uploaded all in the hospital. I look forward to making more videos, so let me know what you guys wanna see!
from a tatooed man to a guiness video to this here penis. oh youtube.
either way i’m glad i found it cuz there’s nothing like this anywhere in relation to phallo and this closely relates. so here you can see how to inflate and deflate the prosthetic which is actually pretty cool.