Life after surgery

Life after surgery

After your surgery and recovery, you might have some questions about surgery outcomes, your changed anatomy and your ongoing health care. Or you may simply want to connect with others who have experienced something similar.

Ongoing health care

We recommend having a conversation with your primary care provider A person’s main health care provider in non-emergency situations such as check-ups and referrals. Family doctors, general practitioners (GPs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) are all primary care providers. about your ongoing physical and mental health, preventative activities, screenings and exams that might be recommended for you

If your primary care provider isn't sure how to answer your questions, advise them to call the RACE line ( where they can ask questions of a clinician with experience in trans health).

Below we’ve provided a few topics you might want to discuss with your primary care provider.

Mental health

Your mental health is an important part of your life after surgery, just as your physical health is. Undergoing a penis construction An umbrella term for gender-affirming genital surgeries that create a penis, including erectile tissue release, metoidioplasty and phalloplasty. can bring up several thoughts and feelings that you may want to discuss with a professional. You can discuss mental health with your primary care provider or visit our information on how to Find a Counsellor.

Sexual health

Speak with your primary care provider about how often you should have STI screening Process of checking for signs of a health issue or medical condition before symptoms appear. . Your primary care provider and surgeon will be able to help you decide what screening options would be best suited to your unique situation.

If you have a cervix, it’s important to screen for HPV (also called cervical self-screening) or have cervical screening (also called Pap test), even if you are on hormone therapy.

Consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HPV and MPox, if you haven’t already. You may be eligible to get some or all of these vaccines for free.

Learn about HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (HIV PrEP) and speak with your primary care provider if you think this might be a good option for you. 

Get Checked Online is a free and confidential online tool that helps you get checked for STIs without having to visit a clinic. You can use the code “transcare” to create your account.

Continued urological follow-up

If you’ve had urethral lengthening A surgical procedure to extend the length of the urethra to allow for urination out of the tip of the penis. The procedure involves connecting a person's current urethra to the new urethra created in the shaft of the penis. , you may need ongoing urological care to address complications. Speak with your surgical team about how to connect with a urologist who can support you over time.

Ongoing support

Many people feel the desire to connect with others after their surgery. If you’re looking for ways to meet others, we recommend visiting our Peer Support Directory. There are groups located throughout the province and groups that meet online. 

Surgical revision

In some cases, people who have had penis construction find they experience complications such as issues around healing or a surgical outcome that doesn’t meet their expectations.

In these cases, you might need to request what’s called a surgical revision A follow-up procedure or adjustment to a previous surgical operation or treatment to correct or improve its outcome. . This is a subsequent surgery to attempt to resolve the complication you’ve identified.

Some reasons for surgical revision may include:

  • Urethral complications
  • Issues with pain related to implants
  • To address scarring or other aspects of appearance

If you think you might need a surgical revision, speak with your surgeon to determine if this is an appropriate next step. If your surgeon determines a revision is medically necessary Treatments, procedures or services that health care professionals determine are essential for diagnosing or treating a medical condition based on established medical guidelines and individual patient needs. , they can apply for further funding on your behalf. 

Medical tattooing

If there are aspects of your penis An erogenous and erectile organ located between the legs that consists of spongy tissue that can fill up with blood and may become firmer with sexual arousal. It is also a means for urination. A person may be born with a penis or have one surgically created. When referring to genitals, the Trans Care BC website uses "erogenous tissue (penis)" for trans people assigned male at birth (AMAB) and "penis" for trans people assigned female at birth (AFAB), but there are many different terms that individuals may use. that you’re not satisfied with, medical tattoos may be an option for you. 

There are tattoo artists who specialize in penis construction phalloplasty A gender-affirming lower surgery to create a penis and scrotal sac (phase 1) followed by testicular implants and implants to obtain rigidity/erection (phases 2 and 3). tattooing. They tattoo the penis (after it has healed) to add pigmentation, contour and veins in order to enhance the penis’ appearance. 

In addition, some tattoo artists specialize in skin and scar camouflage. Once your scars have fully healed, the tattoo artist may be able to make them appear less noticeable by blending them into the surrounding skin.

If you are concerned about pain, there are topical creams you can use to numb the skin. Speak to your surgical team, primary care provider or tattoo artist about your options. Medical tattooing is a self-funded procedure.

Sex after surgery

Safer sex

It’s possible to get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) after erectile tissue release This procedure creates a penis by cutting the ligaments around the erectile tissue (clitoris), so the shaft falls away from the body, giving it a more pronounced appearance. , metoidioplasty A gender-affirming lower surgery to create a penis. Metoidioplasty involves cutting ligaments around the clitoris to add length to the shaft and grafting skin around the shaft to create more girth. Optional additional procedures include scrotoplasty and urethral lengthening. or phalloplasty. The following recommendations can help reduce the chance of getting an STI. These recommendations are general and apply to anyone, whether they have had a genital surgery or not. Not every recommendation may apply to you.

  • Wear a condom during sex. Condoms come in different sizes and you may need to try on a few to find the best fit.
  • Make a habit of regularly checking that the condom has not torn or fallen off. The shaft of your penis will likely be numb for the first 12 months after surgery, so you may not feel it if this happens.
  • Ask your partner(s) to wear condoms during receptive sex (including genital and anal sex).
  • Ask your partners to have STI screening, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis.
  • Avoid having genital sex (or use condoms) if you have genital irritation or inflammation.
  • Speak with your primary care provider about how often you would benefit from getting STI screening (this is based on your sexual activities).
  • Consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Mpox, HPV and updated COVID boosters, if you haven’t already. You may be eligible to get some or all of these vaccines for free.
  • Learn about HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (HIV PrEP) and speak with your primary care provider if you think this might be a good option for you.

Demystifying sex drive & sexual response

This interactive video resource explores concepts surrounding sex drive and how gender-affirming care can affect one's experiences of sexual response or desire.

Download the surgery workbook

This workbook contains worksheets, exercises and checklists related to penis construction

Need support?

Contact our team of experienced health navigators for information about gender-affirming care in B.C.