It was five years ago when world-leading genital reconstructive surgeon Miroslav Djordjevic accommodated the request of a transgender patient to undergo the so-called reversal surgery.
Gender Reversal Surgery
Prior to seeking Djordjevic's help, the patient had sex change surgery that removed her male genitalia. She later changed her mind.
It was not the first and last gender reversal surgery that Djordjevic performed. Over the course of the next six months, another six patients asked him to reverse their procedures. A growing number of people, in fact, mulls about reversals despite the complexity of the procedure, which can take several operations to be performed over a course of a year, and the high cost.
Not Always An Effective Treatment
Djordjevic said that those who want to have reversal told him about the crippling depressions they experienced after the transition. Some even reached the point of getting suicidal, an occurrence already revealed by studies that found sex reassignment is not always an effective treatment for transexualism.
In a 2011 study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers found that transexuals who had sex reassignment have higher risk for suicidal behavior, mortality, and psychiatric morbidity compared with the general population.
"The overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up than for controls of the same birth sex, particularly death from suicide. Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts and psychiatric inpatient care," researchers wrote in their study.
Personal issues may still persist even after a sex change. Those who underwent gender reassignment have been sharing about their experiences that prompt them to consider reversal.
"I had assumed the problem was in my body," related a transgender who shared her regret about transitioning. "Now I saw that it wasn't being female that was stopping me from being myself; it was society's perpetual oppression of women. Once I realised this, I gradually came to the conclusion that I had to detransition."
A Money Matter
After talking with patients, Djordjevic, who has over two decades experience in genital reconstructive surgery, raised concerns over the psychiatric evaluation and counseling that patients who consider gender reassignment receive.
"I have heard stories of people visiting surgeries who only checked if they had the money to pay," he said. "We have to make very strong rules: nobody who wants to make this type of surgery or just make money can be allowed to do so."
To date, all the reversals Djordjevic performed have been transgender women over 30 years old who want to restore their male genitalia.