Breast augmentation in the transgender patient: narrative review of current techniques and complications

Ann Transl Med. 2021 Apr;9(7):611. doi: 10.21037/atm-20-5087.


Gender-affirming surgery (GAS) is often a crucial step during the journey to identity actualization for transgender patients. Surgical breast augmentation, or "top surgery", is frequently cited as the most important and sometimes only gender-affirming procedure sought by transfeminine patients. The breast augmentation process is remarkably similar in transgender and cisgender patients. However, there are unique guidelines, anatomic considerations, and contextual issues for the transgender patient population that must be taken into account by providers to achieve optimal outcomes. The aim of this review is to outline the current state of breast augmentation for transfeminine patients. We walk through our suggested pre-surgical evaluation, breast augmentation options, and post-surgical care. In the preoperative period, providers must establish a positive provider-patient relationship that allows for thorough history taking, physical examination, and goal setting. Providers must be able to select an appropriate implant, incision location, and operative plane to balance patient desires and pre-existing anatomic characteristics in transfeminine patients. Postoperatively, the provider must address acute and chronic needs to allow for continued satisfaction and safety. After reading this review, we aim for providers to be well-equipped to provide the highest quality breast augmentation care for their transfeminine patients. As research into best practices for breast augmentation in transfeminine patients continues to develop, we expect that surgical practice will continue to evolve.

Keywords: Transgender; breast augmentation; gender confirmation procedures; gender dysphoria; mammaplasty.

Publication types

  • Review