After facial feminization surgery, transgender people report better psychosocial health
A UCLA study offers the first evidence that transgender patients who receive gender-affirming facial feminization surgery reported better mental health after their procedures.
The study was published in the journal Annals of Surgery.
According to Dr. Justine Lee, UCLA’s Bernard G. Sarnat Professor of Craniofacial Biology, gender-affirming facial surgery is frequently classified by insurers as a cosmetic procedure, in part because of a lack of evidence that the procedure improves patients’ quality of life.
“Access to facial gender-affirming surgeries under health insurance coverage in the U.S. is more limited than gender-affirming surgeries of other anatomic regions due to a lack of data on mental health quality-of-life outcomes,” said Lee, who was the study’s lead author and is an associate professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Our findings have the potential to change health insurance policies for the better for transgender patients.”
Researchers compared mental health assessments for 107 patients who were awaiting surgery with those of 62 people who had already completed it, an average of a little more than 6 1/2 months after their procedures.
They found that people who had received the surgery reported higher scores in seven of 11 measures of psychosocial health — anxiety, anger, depression, global mental health, positive affect, social isolation, and meaning and purpose — than those who had not yet had the surgery.
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