Should I Get Permanent Hair Removal for My Gender Affirming Surgery?

Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method discovered by Dr. Charles Michel in 1935. Dr. Michel was an American ophthalmologist and wrote the first publication about using electrolysis as a way to remove unwanted hair permanently. A breakthrough that has proven successful even today! Electrolysis consists of using a very fine filament or needle which gets inserted into a hair follicle followed by a current that causes the hair to be destroyed. Electrolysis done properly by a certified electrologist will destroy any hair permanently.

When clients are looking for hair removal pre op Gender Affirming Surgery, electrolysis is your best approach. Phalloplasty and vaginoplasty are the 2 main Gender Affirming Surgeries that require a permanent hair removal solution. Electrolysis in the genital area is performed before GAS to avoid any complications with hair growth inside your new genitals; for vaginoplasty the penile, scrotal and perineum tissues from the neo-vagina and for phalloplasty, the skin graft site (most commonly the forearm) will form the new phallus and urethra.

The most important reason to have the hair permanently removed in the operation sites is to avoid the risk of infection caused by hair follicles. Hair follicles have a growth cycle, once a hair has reached its final growth phase, it sheds to make room for a new hair. If not removed permanently, this hair can then be trapped in your neo-vagina or urethra within the phallus creating a “hairball.”  These “hairballs” deep within the neo-vagina or within the neo-phallus urethra can result in pain, itchiness and infection. After surgery, it is too late to prevent this outcome as the grafted skin is now inside the new genitals and is no longer exposed. At that point, this makes it impossible to get permanent hair removal. Many GAS surgeons emphasize that patients should have genital hair removal prior to surgery since it strongly influences the operation and its outcome. Some may refuse to perform surgery if you still have hair in the area used for your neo-vagina or phallus construction.

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTROLYSIS PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL

  • Electrolysis is a gradual process and it can take a year or more to achieve permanent hair removal. You should expect about 18 months of extensive treatment.
  • The hair growth cycle of genital hair is between 4-6 months, you will need at least this time frame to completely clear all hair once.
  • A hair of the genital area stays in the resting phase for about 12 weeks, then it is active for 2-4 months. Ideally, an interval of 4-6 weeks between treatments is recommended to catch a sufficient new load of Anagen or “active hairs” every session.
  • On average you will need 6 total clearances of electrolysis.
  • We recommend completing your preoperative surgery electrolysis at least six weeks before, and preferably even 8 weeks before your surgery. This gives your skin time to heal in case a complication occurs, as it could take a 2-4 weeks to clear up.