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The Importance of Physical Therapy After Gender-Affirming Surgeries

The Importance of Physical Therapy After Gender-Affirming Surgeries

Knowing your care is in capable and compassionate hands should be the right of everyone seeking any form of medical care, but the health care industry still has a way to go in terms of progress. Sadly, stigma and discrimination impact health care across the board for LGBTQ+ folks, especially regarding gender-affirming treatments. 

Transgender and non-binary people experience more roadblocks in health care than any other group: According to the Center for American Progress, nearly a third of transgender individuals who sought medical care reported being turned away based on their actual or perceived gender identities. 

Elation Physical Therapy in Houston and Pearland, Texas, specializes in physical therapy to help you recover from various illnesses, injuries, and major surgeries. Our experts pride themselves in offering LGBTQ+ medicine free from discrimination and bias so you can truly thrive mentally and physically post-recovery. 

Our team of experienced physical therapists helps you recover from gender-affirming surgery starting shortly after your discharge from the hospital or surgical center. They help you set and work toward attainable goals to restore function, manage pain, and return to everyday life with a positive outlook. 

Minimizing the potential challenges of recovery

Navigating the medical system as a transgender person can be intimidating, and the challenges can snowball with the complexities of surgical recovery. For a smooth recovery, you need experienced physical therapists with knowledge of the impact of gender-affirming surgeries on your function and everyday life. 

No matter which type of gender-affirming surgery you get, physical therapy can help you foresee and prevent potential complications. Depending on the surgery, engaging in post-surgery physical therapy can: 

Engaging in physical therapy after gender-affirming surgery greatly reduces complication rates, as does preoperative physical therapy. One study found that transgender women who engaged in physical therapy before and after gender-affirming surgery had far lower rates of pelvic floor dysfunction than transgender women who only engaged in postoperative rehabilitation. 

Goals of physical therapy after gender-affirming surgery for transgender men

Physical therapy after gender-affirming surgery for transgender men involves restoring strength and function to your pelvic floor. However, phalloplasty surgery doesn’t just alter your pelvic tissues: Because phalloplasty involves a skin graft from somewhere else in your body, our physical therapists also target and rehabilitate that area. 

Our physical therapists can also work with you as you recover from top surgery, which can impact the strength and mobility of your upper body. They evaluate your needs so they can tailor your physical therapy and rehabilitation around them. 

Targeted physical therapy and rehabilitation can improve or restore your posture to prevent back pain and rigidity, or muscle splinting, which can happen when the muscles in your back contract in an attempt to compensate for the removed tissue in your chest area. 

Goals of physical therapy after gender-affirming surgery for transgender women

Transgender women can also experience pelvic floor dysfunction after gender-affirming bottom surgery, which you can rehabilitate with personalized physical therapy. 

Our physical therapists can detect potential challenges before your surgery and work with you to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction both before and after your surgery. Your physical therapy after surgery is dynamic, and our physical therapists can alter your program based on any complications that arise with your pelvic floor function as you follow your post-surgical dilation protocol. 

Providing a safe, inclusive space for your postoperative care

Pelvic floor rehabilitation is necessary for you to get the best possible outcome from gender-affirming surgery, and our team is prepared to support you through the recovery process. 

Finding a physical therapist who is both inclusive and knowledgeable on transgender issues can be challenging: In fact, many people avoid seeking gender-affirming care in the first place or the physical therapy that follows it because they struggle to find LGBTQ-inclusive providers. You can rest assured our team has the tools and values necessary to give you the best possible outcome. 

For more information on what to expect from physical therapy following gender-affirming surgery, call Elation Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment or use the online booking feature at your earliest convenience. 

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