A new study has found that top surgery for transmasculine and non-binary people improves chest dysphoria and comes with minimal complications.

Transmasculine and non-binary adolescents and young adults who were assigned female at birth (AFAB) often experience gender dysphoria around their chest area. Many start binding their chest using binders or trans tape in order to reduce the size of their chest. These methods can serve as temporary relief from chest dysphoria. Nevertheless, top surgery is a permanent change that can significantly and long lastingly improve trans people’s chest dysphoria.

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics researched the effects of top surgery on chest dysphoria among transmasculine and non-binary adolescents and young adults. The findings suggested that gender-affirming top surgery improves feelings of chest dysphoria, gender congruence, and body image in young trans adults three months after the surgery. Moreover, surgery complications were minimal, associated with ‘low complication rates’.

The study included 70 patients, half of which underwent top surgery, whereas the other half did not. Patients ‘completed outcome measures’ before and three months after the surgery. The outcome measures were for chest dysphoria, gender congruence, and body image.

We interviewed Gianni Frary, a counselor at GenderGP, and discussed his experiences with chest binding and top surgery. He explained that due to the lack of education around queer and trans issues, he began using unsafe measures of chest binding at a young age. His journey to get top surgery was met with barriers and resistance from healthcare professionals. A doctor even falsely claimed that he would never be able to receive top surgery due to his weight. However, Gianni persevered and was ultimately able to undergo top surgery, which he defined as ‘life-changing’.

The study is a forward step in our understanding that top surgery can help improve chest dysphoria and gender congruence in transmasculine and non-binary people.