Top surgery for transgender patients now being offered in Sudbury
Transgender patients can now be referred to a Sudbury surgeon for the procedure
A group that provides support to transgender people in northeastern Ontario say it's a big step forward that a plastic surgeon in Sudbury is now offering top surgery.
Dr. Amanda Fortin is taking referrals for transgender patients to get the surgery done in Sudbury.
Vincent Bolt, the education manager at TG Innerselves, says it's an important surgery for someone who is transitioning.
"So that could be either breast augmentation if somebody wants to enlarge their chest or a mastectomy if people want to eliminate what's on their chest," he said.
"So I think that is fantastic news. We have so many people here in the north who are waiting for surgery or wish to have surgery but traveling to Montreal or southern Ontario is prohibitive in its costs."
Bolt says there are surgeons in the area who perform mastectomies, but he says the surgeon now operating on transgender people is a first for the region.
"I do know that for some it's a matter of getting the training on working specifically with trans patients or how to do the procedure more specifically with the chest masculinization surgery," he said.
"I don't think it's necessarily that anyone purposely excluded the community. I think it's just a matter we finally have someone who's had the specific training."
Bolt says he hasn't met with Dr. Fortin himself yet, but he's heard plenty of positive feedback.
He says having access to this type of surgery will help people get health care access closer to home.
Closer to home
Bolt had his own top surgery in 2011 after starting his transition when he was a teenager. He had to travel to Montreal for his surgery.
"After being in surgery, and being in a lot of pain, and being uncomfortable, that bumpy car ride for several hours did not help," he said.
He says having access to this type of procedure in Sudbury will cut down on travel expenses for patients.
"You don't have to book a flight which can be really expensive," he said.
"And I certainly would not recommend taking the bus after surgery which I've heard some people have had to do and I couldn't imagine what that ride would have been like."
Bolt says while it's positive that top surgery is now being offered in Sudbury, more needs to be done in terms of healthcare access for transgender people.
"We don't have many practitioners who provide hormone therapy or who have a lot of experience with trans healthcare," he said. "That is still a challenge we face in the north."
With files from Kate Rutherford