Top surgery is one of the key components for many transgender people in reducing body dysmorphia and becoming comfortable in their own skin. For people who were assigned female at birth, but who identify as male (otherwise known as Female to Male, or FTM), top surgery generally takes the form of breast reduction. But as with any medical procedure, top surgery can be expensive.
If you are transitioning FTM, you may want to explore top surgery options. If this is the case, one of the first questions you'll want to ask is, “how much will this cost?” Plastic surgeon, Doctor Jaime Schwartz, is a leading expert in FTM top surgery. Read on to find a breakdown of FTM top surgery cost.
As with any surgery, FTM top surgery is expensive. In general, the cost ranges from $3,500 to $10,000. There are several factors that can contribute to this price, including which surgeon you use and which area you're in.
Surgery outside the U.S. in locations such as the Philippines and Mexico tend to be the cheapest (though these locations do have their own downsides). In the United States, Virginia, Florida, and Utah are on the lower cost end, whereas states like California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania tend to be middle-of-the-road. Illinois and New York tend to be the most expensive locations.
Different Types of Surgery
The cost of top surgery also varies somewhat by the type of surgery you get. There are four basic surgery approaches that most surgeons use. These are periareolar incisions (also known as keyhole), double incisions, inverted T, and buttonhole.
The price of the operation tends to depend on a few things, although the less invasive procedures are often somewhat cheaper. If you have more skin or breast tissue to remove, the cost will generally be somewhat higher. On the other hand, if your skin is more elastic or you have smaller breasts, you can probably expect prices to be lower.
Which Surgery Will Work Best for You
Keyhole procedures are best for patients with smaller breasts and more elastic skin.
Double incision and inverted T procedures work best for patients with larger breasts. Buttonhole procedures work well for people with smaller breasts who want to keep sensation in their nipples.
You'll need to talk to your doctor about which operation will work best for you. Factors like skin elasticity, amount of breast tissue, nipple sensitivity preferences, and recovery plans can impact your choice. Be clear with your surgeon about your needs, and you'll find the right operation for you.
Down Payment Costs
Often, surgeons will require a down payment to reserve your operation date. This will usually fall somewhere between $500 and $2,000. Some surgeons can require up to 50 percent of the surgery cost up front.
Be sure to talk to your doctor and ask about any down payment requirements. If you're planning on using insurance, a grant, or a loan to cover your surgery, you'll need to make sure the payout comes before you need to reserve your surgery date. And if you are paying for the surgery out of pocket, be prepared to put down a significant chunk of money when you select your surgery date.
What Are You Paying For
When you're looking at paying for something as expensive as top surgery, it's important to know what you're paying for. Please be aware that the costs listed below are not universal. But here are some of the expenses you can expect to see on your surgery bill.
Of course, two of the biggest things you'll be paying for is the actual surgeon's fee and the anesthesiologist's fee. You may also have to pay facility, pathology, medical test, and other miscellaneous fees. After surgery, you should be prepared for additional costs for things such as a medical compression vest, medications, scar care, gauze, and paper tape.
Of course, ideally, insurance should cover FTM top surgery. And while some companies may refuse at first to cover what they consider a cosmetic surgery, you might still be able to get your operation covered by insurance. In some states, you may even be able to take advantage of laws requiring insurance companies to cover transgender healthcare.
If you live in Oregon, California, Colorado, Vermont, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, or New York, your insurance company is required to cover your healthcare costs. In any case, you may still be required to fulfill a number of criteria, including a letter from a licensed therapist, an official gender dysphoria diagnosis, and time on hormone therapy. If your insurance company denies your claim, look into their appeals process; you may still be able to get covered.
Surgery Loans, Grants, and More
If you absolutely cannot get your insurance to cover your surgery, or if you don't have access to health insurance, all hope is not lost. You may be able to take out a loan to pay for the surgery. Of course, you should speak with a financial advisor to make sure you don't wind up in a financially unstable position.
There are a number of companies that offer loans and grants to cover FTM top surgery. If you qualify for a grant, that is an excellent way to go. And depending on your community, you may also consider crowdfunding your surgery costs on a site such as GoFundMe.
Learn More About FTM Top Surgery Cost
FTM top surgery can be very expensive. It's a major operation, and unfortunately, it won't always be covered by insurance. But as much as possible, follow every avenue until it's close to you; it may be more possible for you to get your surgery paid for than you expect.
If you're in the Beverly Hills area, consider Dr. Jaime Schwartz for your surgery. He is board certified in plastic surgery and treats patients with the sensitivity and care they deserve. Read some of the amazing testimonials from Dr. Jaime Schwartz's patients and schedule your personalized consultation today.