NORWALK, Conn. — Since starting to collect statistics on gender-confirmation surgeries two years ago, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports a nearly 20 percent increase in the procedures, HealthDay News reports.
More than 3,200 gender-confirmation surgeries of all types were performed in 2016, the plastic surgeons’ group reports. That represents a rise of nearly 20 percent from 2015, HealthDay News reports.
About 1.4 million adults in the United States, or about 0.6 percent of the adult population, identify as transgender, according to a 2016 analysis by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.
Experts attribute the increase in gender confirmation surgeries to more widespread insurance coverage, as well as growing discussion and acceptance surrounding transgender people.
“With the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and some legislation that bars discrimination against transgender people, those patients are now having their surgeries covered by their insurance plans, resulting in quite an increase in numbers requesting surgery,” said Dr. Debra Johnson, president of the plastic surgeons’ society, according to HealthDay News.
“So part of it was that (surgeries) are now covered, and there was a pent-up demand, if you will, of patients who once couldn’t afford to have surgery who now can,” she told HealthDay.
Gender-confirmation surgeries range from sex “reassignment” — altering a patient’s genitals — to breast augmentation or reduction, facial and neck contouring and even hair transplants. Comprehensive care surrounding gender transition may also involve hormone therapy and psychological counseling.