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Recommendations for Communication in Gender-Affirming Surgical Care

Blasdel, Gaines; Parker, Augustus C; Salibian, Ara; Robinson, Isabel; Zhao, Lee C; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel
SUMMARY:The surgical treatment of gender incongruence with gender-affirming surgery requires a sophisticated understanding of the substantial diversity in patient expectations and desired outcomes. There are patients with gender incongruence who desire surgical intervention to achieve the conventional bodily configuration typical for cisgender men and women and those who desire surgery without the goal of typical cisgender presentation. Proper communication regarding diverse expectations poses a challenge to those unfamiliar with the nuances of this heterogeneous population; such difficulties have led to mistakes during patient care. Based on the lessons learned from these experiences, the authors provide conceptual recommendations with specific examples to account for cultural context and conceptions of gender within surgical practice and scientific research.
PMID: 35674659
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5275902

Heineke-Mikulicz Preputioplasty: Surgical Technique and Outcomes

Xu, Alex J; Mishra, Kirtishri; Zhao, Lee C
OBJECTIVE:To provide a summary of surgical technique and outcomes for Heineke-Mikulicz preputioplasty (HMP), a foreskin-preserving surgical treatment for phimosis in the adult population. METHODS:We retrospectively reviewed 7 patients who underwent HMP by a single surgeon from May 2017 to May 2021. Variables included patient demographics, intraoperative considerations, and post-operative course. HMP is performed using a 2-3 cm vertical incision over the phimotic band on the dorsal surface to just above Buck's fascia. Additional incisions are made on the ventral surface if phimosis remains persistent after dorsal release. The incision is closed horizontally in 2 layers. RESULTS:Seven patients underwent HMP. Median age was 47.3 and median BMI was 24.3. Five patients reported bothersome phimosis and 1 each reported paraphimosis and frenular tethering. Six patients requested foreskin sparing surgery as a personal preference and 1 patient was an intraoperative consult. Topical betamethasone was attempted in 3 of 7 patients. The median time from diagnosis to surgery was 2 months. Median operative time was 45.5 minutes and median estimated blood loss was 5 mL. Two patients required both dorsal and ventral incisions. No intraoperative complications were reported and all patients were discharged the same day. At median follow-up of 1.8 months, 1 patient reported bothersome phimosis secondary to scar formation treated successfully with triamcinolone. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:HMP is a safe and effective method of treating even very significant phimosis in patients trying to avoid circumcision or intraoperative consults where preferences may be unclear. Our method takes less time than traditional circumcision with a comparable recovery and complication profile.
PMID: 35430235
ISSN: 1527-9995
CID: 5218022

Robotic-Assisted Lower Genitourinary Tract Reconstruction

Xu, Alex J; Mishra, Kirtishri; Lee, Yeonsoo S; Zhao, Lee Cheng
With the widespread dissemination of robotic surgical platforms, pathologies that were previously deemed challenging can now be treated more reliably with minimally invasive procedures via the robot. The advantages of precise articulation for dissection and suturing, tremor reduction, three-dimensional magnified visualization, and small incisions allow for the management of diverse lower urinary tract (LUT) disease. These may include recurrent or refractory bladder neck stenoses or intracorporeal urinary diversion with excellent perioperative and functional outcomes. Here, we review the recent literature comprising of developments in robotic-assisted LUT genitourinary reconstruction, with a view toward emerging technologies and future trends in techniques.
PMID: 35931440
ISSN: 1558-318x
CID: 5286412

"Familiar Infections in Novel Anatomy: Patient Reports of Sexually Transmitted Infections After Gender Affirming Penile Reconstruction"

Blasdel, Gaines; Robinson, Isabel; Parker, Augustus; Zhao, Lee C; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel
BACKGROUND:Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) following penile reconstruction in transgender, nonbinary, and other gender expansive (T/GE) populations has not previously been described, despite known risk factors in the population. Following T/GE penile reconstruction, care providers may underdiagnose STI without anatomically appropriate guidelines. METHODS:A detailed anonymous online survey of experiences of T/GE penile reconstruction patients was constructed with community input. Respondents were recruited from online support groups. RESULTS:128 T/GE people with experience of penile reconstruction responded to an anonymous survey posted in online support groups January to May 2020. Seven respondents (5.5%) self-reported one or more of the listed STIs at any point after penile reconstruction. All respondents with neourethras were diagnosed with localized STIs in nonurethral (extrapenile) locations only, and lack of vaginectomy was correlated with STI (p = 0.002). STIs were correlated with reporting sex with cisgender men (p = 0.001), transgender men (p = 0.009), and transgender women (p = 0.012). Of healthcare access variables, only receiving healthcare at a Community Health Center was correlated with STI history (p = 0.003). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:This exploratory survey indicates STI occurs after penile reconstruction in T/GE patients. Clinical confirmation is needed to identify specific risk factors and relative susceptibility of post-reconstruction anatomy to STIs. Given no previous surveillance recommendations for this population and the correlation of healthcare provider location with STI prevalence, underdiagnoses are likely. Based on the authors' clinical experience, we describe a urogenital screening algorithm following gender affirming penile reconstruction.
PMID: 35171129
ISSN: 1537-4521
CID: 5163472

External Genital Revisions after Gender-Affirming Penile Inversion Vaginoplasty: Surgical Assessment, Techniques, and Outcomes

Dy, Geolani W; Salibian, Ara; Blasdel, Gaines; Zhao, Lee C; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel
BACKGROUND:Following gender-affirming penile inversion vaginoplasty or vulvoplasty, patients may seek vulvar revision procedures for a variety of common aesthetic and functional concerns. These indications for revision and accompanying techniques are not well-described in the literature. METHODS:Patients who underwent vulvar revision surgery at the authors' institution were identified, and patient demographics, surgical indications, operative details, and complications were described. Common complaints requiring external genital revision were sorted into four categories: clitoral, labial, introital, and urethral. RESULTS:Thirty-five patients with a history of vaginoplasty underwent vulvar revision between May of 2017 and December of 2019. The mean age at surgical correction was 38.9 years. Ten patients (28.6 percent) had undergone prior secondary procedures (range, 1 to 3). Mean follow-up after revision surgery was 10.7 ± 8.7 months (range, 0 to 30.6 months). The majority of patients underwent concurrent revisions in multiple "categories". Labial aesthetic concerns were most common (n = 27, 77.1 percent), followed by clitoral (n = 20, 57.1 percent), urologic (n = 17, 48.6 percent), and introital complaints (n = 12, 34.3 percent). Twelve patients (34.3 percent) had canal stenosis requiring concurrent robot-assisted canal revision with peritoneal flaps. Complications included labial abscess (n = 1) and deep vein thrombosis (n = 1). Three patients (8.6 percent) underwent subsequent external genital revisions. Management approaches and surgical techniques for each of these common revision categories are provided. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:As more individuals seek vaginoplasty and vulvoplasty, surgeons must be prepared to address a range of common aesthetic and functional complaints requiring vulvar revision. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE/METHODS:Therapeutic, IV.
PMID: 35426889
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5204482

Discussion: Common Revisions after Penile Inversion Vaginoplasty: Techniques and Clinical Outcomes [Comment]

Shakir, Nabeel A; Zhao, Lee C; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel
PMID: 35613292
ISSN: 1529-4242
CID: 5244712

The Management of Intra-abdominal Complications Following Peritoneal Flap Vaginoplasty

Robinson, Isabel S; Blasdel, Gaines; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel; Zhao, Lee C
OBJECTIVE:To describe the authors' experience diagnosing and managing intra-abdominal complications following robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty. The peritoneal flap vaginoplasty is a technique used to achieve consistent vaginal depth regardless of available natal tissue. Intra-abdominal complications following robotic peritoneal flap creation are rare but prompt diagnosis and management is critical to preventing patient harm. Given the infancy of the technique there is limited data on associated complications and their management. METHODS:Retrospective chart review identified patients undergoing robotically assisted peritoneal flap vaginoplasty by the senior authors between 2017 and 2020 who subsequently developed intra-abdominal complications requiring readmission and/or return to the operating room. Patient charts were analyzed for preoperative demographics, medical comorbidities, intraoperative details, postoperative complication presentation, diagnosis, management, and long-term outcomes. RESULTS:Out of 274 patients undergoing peritoneal flap vaginoplasty during the study period, six patients were identified who developed intra-abdominal complications (2.2%). One patient developed a postoperative hematoma requiring return to the operating room for diagnostic laparoscopy and hematoma evacuation. Two patients developed intraabdominal abscesses requiring diagnostic laparoscopy and abscess drainage. One patient developed recurrent episodes of small bowel obstructions that resolved with bowel rest. Two patients developed incarcerated internal hernias requiring diagnostic laparoscopy and internal hernia reduction. In one case, the hernia occurred at the peritoneal flap closure site, and in the other case the hernia occurred at the peritoneal flap donor site. CONCLUSIONS:Intra-abdominal complications following robot assisted peritoneal flap vaginoplasty are rare.  In addition to hematoma and abscess, small bowel incarceration and internal hernias are potential complications of peritoneal flap vaginoplasty that require prompt attention.
PMID: 35150666
ISSN: 1527-9995
CID: 5157032

Gender-affirming Phalloplasty: A Postoperative Protocol for Success

Rifkin, William J; Daar, David A; Cripps, Courtney N; Mars, Ginger; Zhao, Lee C; Levine, Jamie P; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel
Increased access to care and insurance coverage has led to an increase in gender-affirming surgeries performed in the United States. Gender-affirming phalloplasty has a variety of donor sites and surgical techniques including both pedicled and free flaps. Although surgical techniques and patient outcomes are well-described, no reports in the literature specifically discuss postoperative management, which plays a crucial role in the success of these operations. Here, we present a postoperative protocol based on our institution's experience with gender-affirming phalloplasty with the hope it will serve as a standardized, reproducible reference for centers looking to offer these procedures.
PMID: 35747259
ISSN: 2169-7574
CID: 5282242

Robotic deep inferior epigastric perforator flap harvest in breast reconstruction

Daar, David A; Anzai, Lavinia M; Vranis, Neil M; Schulster, Michael L; Frey, Jordan D; Jun, Min; Zhao, Lee C; Levine, Jamie P
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Reducing donor site morbidity after deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap harvest relies mainly upon maintaining integrity of the anterior rectus sheath fascia. The purpose of this study is to describe our minimally-invasive technique for robotic DIEP flap harvest. METHODS:), respectively. Average follow-up was 6.31 months (range: 5.73-7.27 months). Robotic flap harvest was performed with intramuscular perforator dissection in standard fashion, followed by the transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) approach to DIEP pedicle harvest using the da Vinci Xi robot. Data was collected on demographic information, perioperative characteristics. Primary outcomes included successful flap harvest as well as donor site morbidity (e.g., abdominal bulge, hernia, bowel obstruction, etc.). RESULTS:All four patients underwent bilateral abdominally-based free flap reconstruction. Three patients received bilateral robotic DIEP flaps, and one patient underwent unilateral robotic DIEP flap reconstruction. The da Vinci Xi robot was used in all cases. Average flap weight and pedicle length were 522 g (range: 110-809 g) and 11.2 cm (range: 10-12 cm), respectively. There were no flap failures, and no patient experienced abdominal wall donor site morbidity on physical exam. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:While further studies are needed to validate its use, this report represents the largest series of robotic DIEP flap harvests to date and is a valuable addition to the literature.
PMID: 34984741
ISSN: 1098-2752
CID: 5107102

Coming Soon: Ability to Orgasm After Gender Affirming Vaginoplasty

Blasdel, Gaines; Kloer, Carmen; Parker, Augustus; Castle, Elijah; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel; Zhao, Lee C
BACKGROUND:Many patients have goals related to sexual health when seeking gender-affirming vaginoplasty, and previous investigations have only studied the ability to orgasm at cross-sectional timepoints. AIM/OBJECTIVE:Our aim is to quantify the time to orgasm postoperative gender-affirming vaginoplasty and describe potential correlative factors, including preoperative orgasm, to improve preoperative counseling. METHODS:A retrospective chart review was utilized to extract factors thought to influence pre and postoperative orgasm in patients undergoing robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty. Mean days to orgasm plus one standard deviation above that mean was used to define the time at which patients would be considered anorgasmic. OUTCOMES/RESULTS:Orgasm was documented as a categorical variable on the basis of surgeon interviews during pre and postoperative appointments while time to orgasm was measured as days from surgery to first date documented as orgasmic in the medical record. RESULTS:A total of 199 patients underwent surgery from September 2017 to August 2020. The median time to orgasm was 180 days. 178 patients had completed 1 year or greater of follow-up, and of these patients, 153 (86%) were orgasmic and 25 patients (14%) were not. Difficulty in preoperative orgasm was correlated only with older age (median age 45.9 years vs 31.7, P = .03). Postoperative orgasm was not significantly correlated with preoperative orgasm. The only factor related to postoperative orgasm was smoking history: 12 of 55 patients (21.8%) who had a positive smoking history and sufficient follow-up reported anorgasmia (P-value .046). Interventions for anorgasmic patients include testosterone replacement, pelvic floor physical therapy, and psychotherapy. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS/CONCLUSIONS:Preoperative difficulty with orgasm improves with gender-affirming robotic peritoneal flap vaginoplasty, while smoking had a negative impact on postoperative orgasm recovery despite negative cotinine test prior to surgery. STRENGTHS & LIMITATIONS/UNASSIGNED:This investigation is the first effort to determine a timeline for the return of orgasmic function after gender-affirming vaginoplasty. It is limited by retrospective review methodology and lack of long-term follow-up. The association of smoking with postoperative orgasm despite universal nicotine cessation prior to surgery may indicate prolonged smoking cessation improves orgasmic outcomes or that underlying, unmeasured exposures correlated with smoking may be the factor inhibiting recovery of orgasm. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The majority of patients were orgasmic at their 6-month follow-up appointments, however, patients continued to become newly orgasmic in appreciable numbers more than 1 year after surgery. Blasdel G, Kloer C, Parker A, et al. Coming Soon: Ability to Orgasm After Gender Affirming Vaginoplasty. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX-XXX.
PMID: 35337785
ISSN: 1743-6109
CID: 5200732