Question: Chest Reconstruction Surgery

Question: Breast Removal Surgery

WolfieKate asks…

I am a 45 year old lady who is, in the main, happy with my lot in life! I am happily married and have 2 great kids. However my life has been affected for the last 30 years in that I have suffered dysphoric reactions to my breasts since puberty. I am OK with being female, just not a very clear female. I think the lines here are vague, I am happy being female but I don’t identify with much that is female culturally or physically especially my chest. Since they grew they have felt completely wrong, like alien objects grafted to me.

I have had counselling galore and I take medication to make me less unhappy. But none of it works. I am so tired of my chest affecting my life so much. It would be so nice to be free. At 45 I feel as if I deserve a break!

I want to find UK surgeon willing to do a chest reconstruction to remove my breasts. If I were looking for a full FTM change it appears this would be possible eventually but as a woman who wants to stay a woman but no breasts apparently it’s just tough. I feel so frustrated. As if society has decided for me that if I am female I must have breasts! I do not know what to do and at my age I am not willing to back down. Does anyone have experience of how I can start approaching this with surgeons or the NHS. Thanks!

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on September 3rd, 2014 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Question: Chest Reconstruction Surgery”

  1. Imp


    Okay, going from my experience with gender stuff in the UK, the NHS is not really great at grokking non-traditional genders or requests (for one thing, the only route for a double mastectomy that I am aware of would require going through a GIC, which would be inappropriate for you) though I do know of one genderqueer person who is scheduled to have surgery. I think that breast reductions can be sought if your chest is especially large or is linked to back pain, but again, that doesn’t sound like what you want.

    However, if you go to a private surgeon this should be possible. There are at least a few people in the UK who have had private surgery without medically transitioning in other ways – the most notable being CN Lester. If you can afford the fees (around £6-7k) then privately this should be totally possible. (Personally I recommend Victoria Rose who operates in both London and Manchester, but there are other surgeons in the London area and possibly Brighton too. You might just want to identify a surgeon, look up their details and ask them)

    Hope this helps – and good luck!


  2. philifox

    In my experience the NHS are getting better at understanding non-binary / non traditional genders, and are willing to refer you only for treatments that you want.

    It can take FOREVER though.

    Andrew Yelland in Brighton takes both NHS and private patients, and he has no problem with non-transitioning top surgery patients – he doesn’t care if you’re on testosterone or not, and he’s not bothered about your gender identity (although he and everyone else at the hospital is very respectful of gender/pronouns etc).


  3. philifox

    Oh, also, Richard Curtis is a gender specialist who is happy to refer non-transitioning patients for top surgery, if he’s happy that it’s the right decision for the individual.


  4. WolfieKate

    Thanks so much for the replies.

    I did contact a private assessor – Gendercare and also Andrew Yelland. Both of those have been flat Nos… I feel demoralised this morning. So it was really nice to read through your replies and know that I was heard so thank you for that. What a lovely community. My counsellor isn’t an expert and she suggested I try some different clothes on to see if it made me feel better about myself. It was grim! I had panic attacks and felt ill. Female dresses make me heave. I am frustrated that I can not at the moment be who I want to be. Most people believe I have body dysphoria which I accept. But also with a non gender specific outlook. I’ve been wearing a kind of uniform since xmas – black top, black trousers every day. To be honest I been confused since childhood. But to be flat would be amazing. I find it really maddening that health professionals seem so stuck in the dark ages. I will also look at the other names that you guys have suggested so thanks for that. I’ll keep you posted.


  5. Jay

    Don’t give up! There are definitely surgeons out there who will be more than happy to help you <3 There's more and more non-binary and non-transitioning awareness out there all the time, so if someone doesn't want your business, just take it somewhere else!


  6. WolfieKate

    Thank you for your support. I have decided the best way to proceed is just go see some surgeons. It’s going to be harder to say no if I am sat there with my OH. I’ll keep you posted. It’s tough to stay positive in the meantime and I struggle to understand a medical culture who defines people so rigidly. I was particularly disappointed in one response who implied I would need to see at least 2 other psychological quacks who presumably would want cash up front and might still say no. How utterly bizarre that my own body is so tightly bound by one societies view of what is right for me. Nevertheless this is a great journey to embark on, trying to finally accept myself as who I really am meant to be. :)


  7. Anonymous

    Wow this seems so odd to me. Do they not have plastic surgery in the UK? Do they allow women to get breasts augmented and/or reduced? If so, why shouldn’t women be allowed to remove them completely if they want. Why should you have to have a non-female identity to do so?


  8. WolfieKate

    I’m pleased to report that I am now flat! And as happy as I hoped! No sense of regret or that I have done something drastic. I feel totally at ease! :D In actual fact I feel a sense of great release as I have shed 30 years of dysphoria. To shed that mental and physical load is amazing. My body just feels well… normal instead of that awful crawling agitation. I feel as if I can dress female or more masculine and for once it’s my choice, my body doesn’t dictate it.

    Learnings – the professional “gender pyschologists” and surgical community in the UK is not keen on anything which veers from their norm. It is truly gutting and to be treated as a child who can not know their own mind is very poor and patronising. Greater support can be found in the trans gender and gender neutral communities and eventually I did find a surgeon who did not question my sanity nor my motivations.

    I am grateful to the community here on genderfork for giving me some very helpful directions and to CN Lester for an amazing blog..


    anta replied:

    Yay! I’m so happy for you!


    freiya replied:

    also yay! It’s lovely to hear things worked out. Good for you!


    Shifstar replied:

    Hi WolfieKate, and anyone else who might be able to shed some light..

    I’m glad that you have been successful in having your surgery after so long!
    I hope it’s okay to ask you for some information. I too identify as gender neutral I also have dysphoria relating to my breasts. I have found a surgeon (private) who is willing to operate and is very experienced. He mentioned that I need a report from my phscologist and GP, I then have to have it approved by a judge before he is legally allowed to proceed.
    Is this correct and are there any links you might be able to share with me.

    Many Thanks!!


  9. Elliot CR

    Congratulations! Nice to hear that you’re happy with the result. I’m in a similar situation and currently researching surgeons who will do it privately in London. May I ask who you had it done with and if you had to see a therapist first?


  10. Kat

    WolfieKate, I’m sat here in tears reading your latest message. I’m so pleased for you. Your initial post could have been written by me. But I’m older than you (55 this year). Having breasts has always felt wrong to me. I’ve felt gender neutral since I was 15. I have two wonderful grown up children and I am a widow. I wear male clothes almost all the time and never dresses or skirts. I am much more comfortable in male company; but being with other gender neutral folks is the best. I love CN Lester and watched the “Live In Your Living Room” stream tonight. I decided that 2015 is the year I do something for me. I’m retraining for a new career and have been trying to find out how I can have this surgery now. My youngest child (18 so not technically a child) is transgender and identifies as pansexual. He likes people for who they are rather than for their gender or body typeMy elder one, aged 27, is a woman, is bisexual and polyamorous. Before Christmas I discovered a savings account I’d forgotten about and it contains I hope enough to realise this dream if I can find a surgeon who will do this for me. When my trans-son had his chest reconstruction surgery by Dr Yelland last year I was so envious. I determined I had to do something about this need. Please, is there any chance you could tell me thename of the surgeon who you went to? I have considered Dr Rose in Manchester but haven’t started asking yet. I am happy to also see a therapist first but it seems pointless at my age. I should be able to decide for myself what happens to my body.

    Thank you for reading



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