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Most Transgender Women Happy With Breast Implants

To learn more about experiences with breast development, researchers surveyed 773 trans women in the Netherlands. All of the women had started hormone treatment at one clinic between 1972 and 2018.

Overall, the women’s median age was about 50 years, and they had been taking hormones for a median of 10 years. Forty percent had had breast augmentation, 41% had thought about it, and 19% had not had it nor considered it.

Breast augmentation was more common in women who had started their hormone treatment in the 1980s and 1990s. About 70% of that group had had surgery, compared to 20% of those who started hormones between 2010 and 2015.

Still, over all time periods, the percentage of women who considered surgery was around 80%.

Most women who had had surgery did so because they weren’t satisfied with the degree of breast development with hormones alone. Eighty percent were satisfied with their results. Those who were dissatisfied reported feeling unhappy with the look or size of their new breasts. Some noted health problems.

Financial concerns were one of the biggest reasons women chose not to have breast augmentation. The procedure is not covered by insurance in the Netherlands. Other women said they were satisfied with their breast development so far, expected further development as they continued hormone therapy, or feared complications of surgery.

The authors noted that some women had their breast surgery two years after starting hormones. This time frame might be too short to expect fully-developed breasts. “It is expected that breast development in trans women receiving hormone treatment is comparable with breast development during female puberty and therefore takes several years,” they explained, adding that patients should be aware of this time frame when they start hormone therapy.

They stressed that patients should understand the realities of breast augmentation so that they can make informed decisions.

The study was published online in December 2019 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

de Blok, Christel J.M., MD, et al.

“Frequency, Determinants, and Satisfaction of Breast Augmentation in Trans Women Receiving Hormone Treatment”

(Full-text. Published online: December 2, 2019)

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