Breast augmentation surgeries, colloquially known as 'boob jobs', are the most common cosmetic surgery procedure in the world — but for trans patients, they provide so much more than an aesthetic change. It's a gender-affirming process which can alleviate dysphoria and permanently improve quality of life. Because it's such a common procedure, especially by comparison to other gender-affirming surgeries, it's also quite easy to find a talented surgeon to help you. So what exactly do you need to know before you pursue this surgery for yourself?

Timing is Important

It is technically possible to have breast implants placed without having begun hormone replacement therapy. In fact, some surgeons may even advocate for this, as HRT can create complications during surgery — namely blood clots. However, it's most common to begin your medical transition with HRT, and it may not be safe or sensible to hold off on that in order to have surgery first. If you want or need to start hormone therapy first, that is absolutely fine. The end result will be exactly the same. However, you will be advised to cease taking your hormones for a set period of time before and after your surgery.

'Natural' vs 'Fake'

In some people, there may be a perception that 'natural' breast tissue, developed through HRT, is somehow preferable to synthetic implants, or that these implants 'look fake'. This is absolutely not the case. Firstly, both cis and trans women are capable of developing breasts that are both much bigger and much smaller than average, so there is no set way for 'natural' breasts to look. Second, there is no requirement for breast augmentations to produce extremely large results. They can add a single cup size if that is your preference.

Emotional Expectations

Breast implant surgery will, without a doubt, address any feelings of dysphoria that centre around your chest. Your body will feel more like your own both with and without clothing. However, it's vital to remember that no single surgery can answer every problem. Transitioning is a journey with many different steps, and this will only be one of them; what's most important is to embrace yourself and your experience as a trans person. You can — and will! — immensely enjoy the results, but ground your expectations and don't beat yourself up if, after the procedure is complete, you aren't perfectly happy all the time. That is natural and normal.

Whether you want breast augmentation surgery or not is a personal decision, and you need not make it overnight. However, if you do choose to take this step as part of your transition, know that you're making a valid choice — and take your time to find a surgeon who understands you and your needs.