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Hair Removal Prior to Gender Reassignment

by Christine Hart

Cristianos Laser Clinic

 
GENDYS JOURNAL

Issue 28
Winter 2004

 
We have circulated this article for publication as we are increasingly finding clients are either totally unaware of the need for hair removal prior to GRS or leaving it much too late. We hope to raise awareness so that clients can plan ahead.

Introduction

As surgical techniques in respect of reassignment have moved forward over recent years, so have our expectations and the desire to attain the best possible results. After all you only have one chance to get GRS right. The quest to achieve the optimum outcome now includes the choice of having hair removed from the genitalia prior to surgery.

What are the options?

Thai Surgeons

Surgeons in Thailand have perfected a technique to scrape the hair follicles from the scrotal tissue prior to reconstruction, although this procedure is not available in this country.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis is very dependent on the skill of the therapist conducting the treatment. For correct needle insertion the skin must be stretched between the index and second finger, thus opening the entrance to the hair follicle in order to slide a fine needle into the follicle following the direction of the hair growth.

The nature of the scrotal skin simply does not lend itself to being stretched in this manner. This means that correct needle insertion is almost impossible. If the needle is inserted incorrectly the current will be discharged into the wrong place. The resulting destruction to the dermis can disrupt the blood supply and result in tissue, which is too damaged for reconstruction.

Laser

Laser treatment works by selective absorption of the laser light by the melanin or colour in the hair. This inevitably means treatment is only successful where the hair contains dark pigment and the skin is fair allowing the light to pass through the skin leaving it untouched.

As has been proven time and again there are many different lasers on the market, not all of them remove hair successfully. It is worth noting here that IPL systems are different technology altogether to laser and may result in absorption of light in the skin tissue. It is of the utmost importance that you choose a proven system as after surgery no further treatment can be carried out.

Chris Hart from Cristianos Laser Clinics was one of the pioneers of the use of laser for this procedure and is monitoring the success of treatment carried out at her clinics in Manchester, London and Leeds. Chris had this to say

"Treatment of the perineal area in preparation for gender reassignment for transwomen continues to receive positive feedback from both clients and from surgeons. Clients have not reported any difficulties with hair regrowth but we are obviously restricted in assessment of the area post surgery. Clients have been receiving an average of 6 to 8 treatments.

It is my personal view that the probability of incorrect needle insertion is too high even for the most experienced therapist and therefore would never recommend any client to have electrolysis on the genitalia prior to GRS even in circumstances where the hair or skin is unsuitable for laser treatment."

Chris's commitment to the procedure included at trip into theatre to observe a M2F reassignment, taking dedication a step too far maybe! Recalling the experience Chris determined "It was a necessary evil to appreciate first hand the tissue, which needs to be treated and as importantly the tissue that does not require hair removal. Both vitally important in achieving the most natural results."

Cristianos laser clinic has been established for over 10 years with clinics in Manchester, London, Leeds and Lancashire specialising in all types of laser hair removal inc dark skin and light hair along with skin treatments for the trans community inc active acne, thread veins and Rosacea. Free consultations and test patches. For more information see www.cristianos.co.uk or contact info@cristianos.co.uk

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Web page copyright GENDYS Network. Text copyright of the author. Last amended 29.12.04, 30.04.08