Female-to-male (FTM) top surgery is a procedure to create a more masculine-looking chest in transgender men. The procedure involves removing excess fat and skin, and repositioning the nipples to create a natural-looking flat chest. FTM top surgery may help relieve gender dysphoria and prevent complications related to chest binding.
Top surgery creates a more masculine-looking chest in transgender men. It’s a type of female-to-male (FTM) gender-affirming surgery.
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There are many options for female-to-male top surgery. Procedures may involve:
Many people pursuing FTM top surgery have gender dysphoria. This is the distress that occurs when your sex assigned at birth does not match your gender identity. Top surgery may help alleviate this dysphoria.
Surgery can also prevent complications of compression garments used in binding. These tight-fitting garments can cause skin damage, shortness of breath, discomfort and even possibly broken ribs.
The ideal choice is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in gender-affirming procedures. Going to an experienced provider gives you the best chances of successful surgery.
To undergo female-to-male top surgery, you’ll need to meet the criteria defined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). You’ll undergo a mental health evaluation to ensure your understanding of the procedure and its impact on your life.
You’ll likely need gender-affirming hormone therapy with testosterone. Achieving the full effects can take up to a year and include redistributing fat away from your chest and broadening your shoulders.
There are several FTM top surgery options:
This is the most common option. It involves:
This option is for individuals with smaller chests. It may involve:
You may be eligible for this procedure if you have a very small chest and tight skin. It involves:
You may wish to pursue:
One of the main benefits is relief from gender dysphoria. Achieving a flat, masculine-looking chest helps many transgender individuals feel better about themselves and can help alleviate gender dysphoria.
Other benefits depend on the type of top surgery:
Complications depend on the type of procedure and may include:
After surgery, you will need to:
The outlook after FTM top surgery is excellent. It can take a few months for the pain and scars to fade. After recovering, most people have an improved self-image and quality of life.
Your care should include follow-up appointments to track your recovery. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
FTM top surgery is a procedure that creates a more masculine-looking chest in transgender men. It’s one of many gender-affirmation procedures that relieve symptoms of gender dysphoria. Receiving care from a surgeon specializing in transgender procedures increases the chances of success.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/16/2021.
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