I had the unique opportunity of having a gentleman, on who I performed Top surgery 15 years ago, visit with me. Not only was it great to see him and how he was doing ( he was in the process of undergoing genital reassignment in South Korea), how good he looked, how much he appreciated his result, but it made me reflect on how far we have come! Not only did it reaffirm that I was/am getting great results for these men, I have seen how I have improved both surgically, and as an empathetic physician. So this is why I loved visiting with my patient 15 years after his FTM surgery!
As surgeons, we must always seek to improve out surgical technique and the results we obtain for our patients. Through continued learning and discourse with colleagues, we can obtain new knowledge. But, it is through repetition and a vast experience and examining this through a critical lens is how one truly improves. I always evaluate what I am doing and make improvements to evolve into higher quality. By researching and writing the first paper, 20 years ago, on the best location if nipples, in men, it set a foundation for good results. To me, this is where a lot of poor aesthetic results arise. By focusing on anatomy, I know we get the aesthetic right!
As a physician, I always seek to render the nest care, for my patients. I work hard with my staff to provide this on a consistent basis. From correcting a facial scar, reconstruction a breast following mastectomy, to top surgery, we focus not only on the physical and emotional needs of the patient, but those that are effected around it….. the interpersonal relationships. It was initially confusing when a man, in transition comes into the office with a female significant other. I wondered how their relationship will transition after my surgery. By speaking with them and asking the appropriate questions, I obtained a great sense of the varying situations with these relationships. This has enabled my staff and I to better relate and care for our patients and their significant others. I also have a nephew, who had undergone this process and have more empathy and understanding as a family member, I remember when he came and visited with us, my wife introduced him to a neighbor as ” my nephew”. When I spoke with my brother, after his visit, he said that was what the most significant event of his visit. The small things are sometimes the big things!All of this has made me a better physician when it comes to the specific patient care needed in top surgery.
So after his 15 year visit, I see how far I have come and how far my staff has come. I also am satisfied with the progress, in my surgical results, but will never be complacent…I will continue to improve. We have also made these patients feel welcome and nurtured, there are no awkward moments. As I say to all my patients….”I appreciate you and am privileged and honored you chose us for your care!