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Breast removal surgery improves body image of transgender men, study finds

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Transgender men and nonbinary teenagers who underwent breast removal surgery reported having a better body image afterward, according to a new study.

Northwestern Medicine looked at 70 female-body patients between the ages of 13 and 24 who either received  “top surgery,” or mastectomies (36 patients), or who received testosterone therapy but didn’t get mastectomies (34 patients).

Researchers had patients report about their body image before they began their treatment path and then three months later.

The study found that “gender-affirming top surgery is associated with significant improvement in chest dysphoria, gender congruence and body image in transmasculine and nonbinary teens and young adults,” according to a press release from Northwestern Medicine.

The peer-reviewed study was published Monday in the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics. The average age of the patients was 18 years old.

“When we compared the outcomes of patients who received gender-affirming top surgery to those who did not, we recognized that surgery significantly improved the quality of life for patients,” Dr. Sumanas Jordan, a plastic surgeon and director of the Northwestern Medicine Gender Pathways Program, said in the release.

She added that such a finding has been previously documented in adults, but hadn’t done so in teens and young adults.

“We hope the study will inform physicians and parents as they assess a youth’s readiness for gender-affirming medical or surgical treatment,” Dr. Jordan continued.



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