Non-grafted Vaginal Depth Augmentation for Transgender Atresia, Our Experience and Survey of Related Procedures

Harold M Reed, Rafael E Yanes, Joan C Delto, Yumna Omarzai, Kailee Imperatore
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2015, 39 (5): 733-44

INTRODUCTION: Neovaginal atresia especially following male-to-female transgender vaginoplasty is a distressing concern. A pelvic space must be re-created. Traditionally, an epithelial or mucosal lining is employed to cover the space. However, in our series of 18 patients, a non-grafted approach has been equally efficacious, as previously described by others.

AIM: To follow the outcome of male-to-female transsexuals undergoing secondary depth enhancement without use of graft or flap.

METHODS: Patient selection included two operated on elsewhere, one of whom had a lower abdominal skin graft, and the remainder done here using an inverted penile skin flap supplemented by a scrotal graft extension as needed. The time lag from primary to revision surgery varied from 5 months to 23 years, average 3.7 years. The fascial plane of Denonvilliers was reopened and packed for 7 days to facilitate maintenance of a pelvic space. Patients are requested to perform serial self-dilations with a stent set indefinitely to maintain patency and procure additional depth. Immuno-histochemistry staining was performed to demonstrate estrogen receptor (ER) presence in male genital skin. Estrogen cream may be utilized to facilitate wound healing. Main outcome measures were post-operative depth results and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) scores. Several attempts were made to contact all patients for completion of a FSFI. Ten out of 18 responded.

RESULTS: Following revision of the pelvic space, static depths increased two-fold on average, from 2.4 in. (6.2 cm) to 5.0 in. (12.7 cm). The FSFI domain scores (of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) were all mid-range or above. Full scale FSFI scores (compilation score) averaged 23.4 (range limits 2-36). Histologic staining showed the presence of ER in genital skin of all genetic males tested regardless of estrogen usage and perceived gender.

CONCLUSIONS: Given adequate development of the rectal-vesical space and preservation of that space with self-dilation, epithelialization will ensue providing sexual gratification for patient and partner (as per patient).

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE III: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

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