Male-to-female sex reassignment surgery using the combined technique leads to increased quality of life in a prospective study

Nikolaos A. Papadopulos, Dmitry Zavlin, Jean Daniel Lellé, Peter Herschbach, Gerhard Henrich, Laszlo Kovacs, Benjamin Ehrenberger, Hans Günther Machens, Jürgen Schaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: The authors' previous research showed that various plastic surgical procedures can increase a patient's quality of life in its different aspects. In a prospective setting, they evaluated whether sex reassignment surgery has similar effects for male-to-female transgender patients compared to baseline data before sex reassignment surgery. Methods: All 39 patients who underwent their first-stage male-to-female sex reassignment surgery between October of 2012 and January of 2014 received one set of questionnaires preoperatively (time 0) and approximately 6 months after their final operation (time 1). Each set contained self-developed, indication-specific questions combined with the standardized validated Questions on Life Satisfaction, Modules (German version) questionnaire, the Freiburg Personality Inventory, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Patient Health Questionnaire, which were compared to available norm data. Results: The mean patient age was 38.6 years. The majority of the patients were highly educated, childless, and single. Significant improvements were found in the Questions on Life Satisfaction, Modules (German version), especially for the items "partnership," "ability to relax," "energy," "freedom from anxiety," "hair," "breast," and "penis/vagina" (p < 0.01). Furthermore, the patients appeared more emotionally stable (p = 0.03), showed higher self-esteem (p = 0.01), and showed much lower depression/anxiety (p < 0.01). Conclusions: The positive study findings were confirmed with the results from prior retrospective studies. However, medical literature focuses largely on surgical and functional satisfaction and not overall quality of life. In addition, standardized questionnaires are used rarely and solely retrospectively, with the risk of recall bias. The increased quality of life of transgender women postoperatively endorses sex reassignment surgery as a valuable option for these patients. CLINICAL QUESTON/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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