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Getting ready for gender surgeries

Doing some preparation before a surgical procedure can help make sure everything goes smoothly during your hospital stay and recovery. To help you avoid forgetting to do or buy something we have created this checklist.

In the months and weeks beforehand

  • Ask someone to drive you back home from the hospital.

  • You will need someone to stay with you for at least the first night you are home.

  • You will need time off for medical reasons, and you need to let them know this in advance.

  • It is important to give your GP advance notice about the surgery.

  • It may be possible for this to be delivered to your home by the pharmacy.

  • Find someone who can drive you to A&E if an emergency happens when you are back home from hospital.

  • Make sure that any prescription medication you take will not run out while you recover.

  • If it would help you, create a hospital passport, or make sure it is up-to-date.

  • Make sure you have everything you need from the shopping on the next page.

  • Make sure you cease hormone treatments in line with the recommendations of your surgeon.

  • Usually you will have lots of prescriptions after your surgery and if you live in England you may be charged for them. Check if you can reduce your prescription costs first.

  • If you are on certain benefits or receiving a low income, you may be entitled to help with your travel costs. Check the NHS England, NHS Scotland, Welsh Government, or Northern Ireland Government websites for more information.

It’s really important to make sure that you are able to keep your spirits up while you are in hospital. The best way to deal with this is having visitors.

  • Visitors will want to bring gifts to make you feel cared about. Let them know whether you’d prefer cards, flowers, soft toys, or something else.

You might also want to think about whether there are any other things you might need to do. Talking to a partner, friend, or family member about it might help you think of ideas.

Just before you go to hospital

  • You will find this very difficult to do when you get back from hospital

  • This will allow you to be more comfortable while you are travelling home

  • Use this on your return journey home, either to sit on for bottom surgery, or to cushion the seat belt for top surgery

  • Make sure you have made arrangements for visits to your property with someone who knows why you will be leaving your property for an extended period

Genital (“bottom”) surgeries

  • You should not need these unless you have significant complications, but having a plan will help if something goes wrong.

  • Make sure there is someone who can drive you back to the surgeon if you need emergency revisions.

  • You may need hair removal (shaving or electrolysis) for some parts of your body before surgery - make sure you know what your surgeon needs you to do.

Shopping list

Here are some things you might need in the weeks after your surgery while you recover. You should be able to buy all these things from either a supermarket or a pharmacy.

  • This will help reduce pain and fever

  • This will help reduce pain

  • This is helpful to avoid constipation in the weeks after a general anaesthetic

  • This is also helpful to avoid constipation - make you drink plenty of fluids while using lactulose

  • Don’t forget to buy latex-free gloves if you or someone helping you has a latex allergy

  • These are helpful if you have been told you cannot bathe or shower after your surgery

  • This will tell you if you have a fever and may have an infection that needs medical treatment

  • These disposable fabric cloths are useful for cleaning yourself or things with bodily fluids on them)

  • This is for disinfecting things that get bodily fluids on, and if necessary can be used to clean surgical sites too

  • Microwave meals and food you don’t need to cook (biscuits, crisps, etc) will allow you to eat easily after surgery

  • This is useful for cleaning your bath to help avoid getting infections

  • Your surgeon may recommend supplements to ensure good health and healing during recovery

If you have trouble sleeping in a hospital ward you might want:

For genital surgeries, the following are also very useful to buy:

  • Make sure it has a cool mode, and you can use this to dry your surgery site after bathing or showering

  • This can help reduce surgery site swelling

  • This will let you look closely at your surgery site and check it is healing properly

  • This is a table that lets you eat, drink, or use a laptop while you are in bed

  • This makes washing yourself safer and easier

  • This means you can throw them out if you stain them with blood or other fluids

  • This keeps your mattress safe from fluids

  • You may need to throw out underwear you use during your initial recovery

  • These are to help keep your underwear clean

If you will need to dilate using an insertable medical device, you should also consider buying:

  • This will keep the device sterile and the operative site cleaner

  • Make sure you buy ones that your surgeon recommends

  • This gives you a surface to lie on that you can easily wipe clean

  • This helps with timed parts of your post-operative care while keeping both hands free

For your comfort these might be helpful to you after many surgeries, but are not essential:

  • A pillow with a V shape can be helpful to support your body while in bed for long periods

  • This can make sitting more comfortable after genital surgery

  • Your movement may be restricted after surgery and you may not be able to scratch yourself

  • If you have restricted movement after surgery this also can be helpful

  • This can be useful both in and out of hospital if your bed is a long distance from a socket

  • This can make it easier if you are on the toilet for long periods

Errors and omissions

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