Frequently asked questions

General

  1. Do I have to have genital reconstructive surgery before changing my gender status on my legal documents?
  2. Will my surgery be reimbursed by my province’s health insurance?
  3. From what age can I have gender reassignment surgery?
  4. What documents do I need to provide if I want to have surgery?
  5. I am intersexed and would like to undergo gender reassignment surgery. What documents do I need to provide?
  6. My file is complete; I am following WPATH’s Standards of Care and I have provided all of the documents requested by my surgeon. How long will I have to wait to be given a surgery date?
  7. How long before surgery do I have to provide my lab results?
  8. What are the possible complications involved with my surgical procedure?
  9. Will I lose the ability to achieve orgasm after surgery?
  10. I don’t speak French. Do the physicians and staff at GRS Montréal speak English?
  11. Will I have an opportunity to speak with the GRS Montréal team before my surgery?
  12. My blood is infected with HIV. Can I still have surgery?
  13. If I have an STI, can I still have surgery?
  14. Can I contract or transmit an STI even if I have undergone genital reconstructive surgery?
  15. Can I be operated on if I am overweight?
  16. Can I undergo surgery if I take drugs?
  17. How long before and after surgery do I have to stop consuming alcohol and stop smoking?
  18. Should I stop taking my hormones before surgery?
  19. Will the dosage of my hormones need to be adjusted after surgery?
  20. How do I prepare for surgery?
  21. How do I plan my transportation to and from my procedure?
  22. I am afraid to experience pain after my surgery. Will I be given medication?
  23. Why do I need to stay for a few days at the Asclépiade convalescent home after my surgery?
  24. If my recovery is difficult, can I get psychological support at your hospital?
  25. I would like to undergo surgery at GRS Montréal. Should I be accompanied during my stay?
  26. What are the rules regarding visitors?
  27. Will I have access to entertainment during my stay?
  28. Will I require the aid of a nurse after my surgery?
  29. Once I am back home after surgery, what should I do if I need help?
  30. Can I drive my car after surgery?
  31. How long will my convalescence last after surgery and when can I return to work?
  32. When can I start to swim again after my surgical procedure?

  • 1. Do I have to have genital reconstructive surgery before changing my gender status on my legal documents?

    No, if you are a resident of Quebec, it is no longer mandatory to have genital reconstruction surgery in order to change your gender status in legal documents.

    For more information, visit the Directeur de l’état civil’s website: http://www.etatcivil.gouv.qc.ca/en/change-sexe.html

    If you are not a Quebec resident, you can find information in the Being Trans section of our website or from your provincial or state government.

    *If necessary, we will provide you with the official documents (affidavit) required to support your efforts.

    Back to top
  • 2. Will my surgery be reimbursed by my province’s health insurance?

    Most Canadian provinces cover the cost of gender reassignment surgery. However, feminizing surgeries considered cosmetic, such as breast augmentation, voice surgery, Adam’s Apple reduction, and facial feminization, are not currently covered by all health insurance programs. Each Canadian province has its own reimbursement program. You can find information specific to your province in the Être trans section of our website or of your provincial government.   

    If you are a U.S. citizen or from elsewhere in the world, check with the health department of your state or provincial government and/or your own insurance company.

    *Some health insurance programs cover certain fees associated with your surgery while others do not.

    Back to top
  • 3. From what age can I have gender reassignment surgery?

    According to WPATH's Standards of Care, an individual must be of the age of majority in the country of reference (Canada) to be allowed to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Therefore, the required age for genital reconstructive surgery is 18 years of age and 16 for masculinization of the torso surgery (mastectomy).  

    Back to top
  • 4. What documents do I need to provide if I want to have surgery?

    The documents required are linked to the type of surgery you are interested in undergoing. The basic required documents are those that allow surgeons to confirm that you have met WPATH’s Standards of Care. Additional documents, like proof of good health from your doctor, will be requested to ensure safe surgical proceedings.

    Consult the WPATH document for more information.

    Back to top
  • 5. I am intersexed and would like to undergo gender reassignment surgery. What documents do I need to provide?

    The documents required are the same set out by WPATH’s Standards of Care. GRS Montréal surgeons may ask you for additional documentation and/or test results in order to ensure safe surgical proceedings. 

    Back to top
  • 6. My file is complete; I am following WPATH’s Standards of Care and I have provided all of the documents requested by my surgeon. How long will I have to wait to be given a surgery date?

    Once your preoperative medical file has been confirmed, a GRS Montréal staff member will contact you to provide you with a preliminary surgery date, taking into account your own availability and that of the operating room.

    Although you will have been assigned a date, you must send us the required lab results by the deadline you will be provided with. Once the results of these tests have been validated, your surgery date will be confirmed.   

    Back to top
  • 7. How long before surgery do I have to provide my lab results?

    GRS Montréal must receive your results 2 months before your surgery date in order to confirm this date and avoid a postponement.  

    Back to top
  • 8. What are the possible complications involved with my surgical procedure?

    It is important to keep in mind that complications rarely occur. Generally, minor problems are the most common. Complications may make recovery time longer, but they do not necessarily affect final results.

    While risk is involved in all surgeries, GRS Montréal physicians work continually to prevent them through the development and maintenance of safe surgical practices. Additionally, pre and postoperative treatment and follow-up plans allow for early detection and management of complications that may arise. In the case of complications, our doctors will provide you with all of the necessary information to help you eliminate all problems as quickly as possible. 

    Risks and complications are not directly related to the scale of the surgical procedure involved and are sometimes difficult to prevent despite precautions taken. Severe allergic reactions to medication, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, hemorrhage, embolism, the reopening of wounds or slow healing, injuries to other parts of the body, loss of feeling, bruising and swelling, wide and thick scars, and unsatisfactory outcomes are common complications in all surgeries. You will be provided with all details related to the complications specific to your surgery.     

    Back to top
  • 9. Will I lose the ability to achieve orgasm after surgery?

    The majority of patients retain their ability to achieve orgasm after surgery, but there is still a risk that sexual function or the ability to have an orgasm will be affected. GRS Montréal surgeons are very experienced and use techniques that allow the patient to retain her or his sensations of sexual pleasure. Your health history (smoking, diet, alcohol, etc.) can also affect healing and, in this way, alter the sensitivity of your genitals.

    Back to top
  • 10. I don’t speak French. Do the physicians and staff at GRS Montréal speak English?

    Our staff speaks French and English. We are also able to provide you with documents concerning your surgical procedure in these two languages.

    If you do not speak French or English, it is still possible to have surgery at the CMC. In the past, we have accompanied deaf and mute patients, as well as patients whose mother tongue is neither French nor English. From the beginning of the preoperative period, we will accompany you in the process to obtain an interpreter or translator.  

    Back to top
  • 11. Will I have an opportunity to speak with the GRS Montréal team before my surgery?

    You can contact us at any time in order to communicate confidentially with a member of the GRS Montréal team. Once your file is complete, a member of the nursing staff in the preoperative clinic will contact you. 

    Back to top
  • 12. My blood is infected with HIV. Can I still have surgery?

    Yes, it is possible to have surgery as HIV is not a contraindication to surgery. However, it is important to mention your infection to us and to provide us with the results of your viral load when you want to plan your surgery. Your viral load lab results must be labelled “undetectable”. Antivirals are the only way to achieve this label.   

    Back to top
  • 13. If I have an STI, can I still have surgery?

    Yes, surgery is possible even if you have contracted an STI in the past. However, if you currently have an STI, it is recommended you be healed before having surgery. Your symptoms must be treated. if a fever is present, surgery will be postponed.  

    Back to top
  • 14. Can I contract or transmit an STI even if I have undergone genital reconstructive surgery?

    After surgery, you remain at risk of contracting or transmitting infections transmitted sexually and by blood. Consult your family doctor for information about available contraception.

    Resources: http://www.sexualityandu.ca/en/

    Back to top
  • 15. Can I be operated on if I am overweight?

    Your weight and diet can significantly influence your healing, the results of your surgery, your ability to take care of yourself. It is preferable to have attained a healthy weight by the time of your surgery (a BMI between 18.5 and 25). If your BMI is below or above the normal range, your situation will be assessed and you will be informed of your possibilities for surgery. GRS Montréal can direct you to resources that can help you achieve your weight loss or weight gain goals.

     Calculate your BMI

    Back to top
  • 16. Can I undergo surgery if I take drugs?

    Access to our establishment is forbidden to anyone with drugs or alcohol in their possession, or are under the influence of these substances.

    Drug use can affect patient safety during surgery. All drug use should be reported to us during the planning stages of your surgery. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist must have this information to ensure the surgery is safe for you.

    Back to top
  • 17. How long before and after surgery do I have to stop consuming alcohol and stop smoking?

    Alcohol: You must avoid drinking alcohol during the 2 weeks before surgery. Mixing alcohol and medications can cause unpredictable and undesired reactions.

    Access to our establishment is forbidden to anyone with drugs or alcohol in their possession, or are under the influence of these substances.

    Tobacco and nicotine substitutes: We highly recommend you stop smoking or using nicotine substitutes during the 6 weeks before and after the procedure, with the exception of phalloplasty surgery, for which you must stop smoking 6 months before and after the procedure in order to optimize the vascularization of the graft of the phallus as well as nerve regeneration. Toxic substances found in tobacco can:

    • Tighten small blood vessels and thus negatively affect the results of your surgery and the healing of your wounds;
    • Cause nausea upon waking up, vomiting, and excessive coughing, which increase the risk of bleeding after surgery;
    • Resource http://defitabac.qc.ca/en
    According to the law to provide a healthy environment, it is strictly prohibited to smoke on the premises, with the exception of specifically designated smoking areas. These areas are located at least nine (9) meters from all of the facility’s doors. Violating this rule can make you subject to fines ranging from $250 to $750 for a first infraction and from $500 to $1500 for a recurrence. Cigarette butts must be disposed of in designated metal containers.
    Back to top
  • 18. Should I stop taking my hormones before surgery?

    • Feminizing hormones, antiandrogen drugs like progesterone and spironolactone: you must stop taking these 3 weeks before surgery in order to reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis (blood clot). You can resume taking these after surgery, as directed by your surgeon.
    • Masculinizing hormones such as testosterone: you should continue taking these according to your usual schedule.
    Back to top
  • 19. Will the dosage of my hormones need to be adjusted after surgery?

    If you are taking feminizing hormones and antiandrogen drugs, make an appointment with your prescribing physician 2 months after a genital reconstructive surgery such as vaginoplasty, vaginoplasty without vaginal cavity, and orchiectomy.

    If you are taking masculinizing hormones, you do not need to make a follow-up appointment.

    Back to top
  • 20. How do I prepare for surgery?

    Once your surgery date has been confirmed, we will provide you with documentation containing all the details required to be well-prepares for your surgical procedure and your stay. 

    Back to top
  • 21. How do I plan my transportation to and from my procedure?

    If you are traveling by train or airplane, a transportation service is available at no additional cost. If you are not hospitalized (day surgery), you must be accompanied at the time of departure.

    *If it is impossible for you to be accompanied, please let us know as early as possible so that we may put necessary resources in place.

    If you are hospitalized, you must leave your room by 8:00 am on the day of your departure so that we can make it available to the next patient. For this reason, we ask that you plan your flight or train departure for the morning. If you are not hospitalized (day surgery), the nurse will tell you when you can leave the facility.

    Back to top
  • 22. I am afraid to experience pain after my surgery. Will I be given medication?

    The majority of patients experience pain after surgery. Its intensity varies from one person to another and the experience of pain is unique to each person. To relieve pain, surgeons prescribe a daily medication such as an anti-inflammatory and a non-opioid analgesic. If your pain persists, take a narcotic analgesic in addition to your regular medication. We cannot predict how long the pain will last, but it should decrease in intensity as your healing progresses.

    Depending on the type of surgery, your surgeon will, when needed, renew your narcotic analgesic prescription during your medical leave. Should you require more medication, make an appointment with your family doctor.  

    Back to top
  • 23. Why do I need to stay for a few days at the Asclépiade convalescent home after my surgery?

    Your stay at Asclépiade is necessary because you will receive the majority of your care and postoperative treatments there. Your convalescence allows you to recover under 24-hour a day surveillance by the nursing staff. If complications arise, your surgeon will immediately take charge of you. Finally, the nursing staff will also teach you all that you will need to know to continue your care yourself when you return home. 

    Back to top
  • 24. If my recovery is difficult, can I get psychological support at your hospital?

    The nurses at the CMC and Asclépiade can provide frontline psychological support and decide with you if additional support is necessary. We do not have any mental health professionals in place in our facility. It is therefore important to maintain contact with health professionals involved with your care and bring their contact information with you.

    Back to top
  • 25. I would like to undergo surgery at GRS Montréal. Should I be accompanied during my stay?

    We highly recommend that you be accompanied by a family member or friend during your stay to support and comfort you during this unique event. Our staff will work with you and your companion to create the most positive experience possible. In addition, the presence of a companion during teaching periods can facilitate the understanding and integration of care into your daily routine. 

    Back to top
  • 26. What are the rules regarding visitors?

    At the CMC:

    • Visiting hours are from 8 :00 am to 8 :00 pm;
    • In order to ensure the rest, comfort, and tranquility of all of our clients, we ask you to limit your visitors to 2 at a time. Young children are not allowed to visit;
    • Visitors are not authorized to enter the operating or recovery rooms;
    • In order to prevent infections, visitors are not allowed to sit on patients’ beds;
    • In order to avoid interference with medical equipment, cellphone use is prohibited between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm. Outside of these hours, we ask that you put your device on vibrate, speak quietly, and avoid long conversations.

    At Asclépiade:

    • Visiting hours are from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm;
    • In order to respect the privacy of patients and to prevent infections, visitors are prohibited from entering the rooms;
    • Cellphones are permitted at all times but we ask that you put your device on vibrate, speak quietly, and avoid long conversations.
    Back to top
  • 27. Will I have access to entertainment during my stay?

    Yes, each room has its own television, and wireless internet service is offered for free. In order to respect the other patients in convalescence, we ask that you bring a pair of earphones with you for your own personal use.

    If you wish, you may bring music, your laptop, books, or other forms of entertainment.

    Back to top
  • 28. Will I require the aid of a nurse after my surgery?

    Usually, no. All patients who undergo surgery receive a personalized follow-up service by email or telephone to ensure that their recovery, as well as the management of their health, is going well. You will also receive educational guides for your reference at home.

    If nursing care at home is required, the Nurse Navigator can make the request for you or communicate with your treating physician about how to ensure the continuity of your care. The GRS Montréal team is always available to work with the health professionals involved in order to facilitate the management of your care.
    Back to top
  • 29. Once I am back home after surgery, what should I do if I need help?

    Once you are back at home, you can communicate with your surgeons through the nurse at Asclépiade.

    In case of medical emergency, you must go to the emergency room of your nearest hospital or call the emergency telephone number in your area. The emergency doctor can communicate with your surgeon through Asclépiade so that you can be cared for properly and effectively. The GRS Montréal team is ready to work in tandem with other health professionals involved in your medical care.
    Back to top
  • 30. Can I drive my car after surgery?

    For genital surgeries and surgeries of the torso, we recommend that you wait 2 weeks before driving a motor vehicle. After surgery of the torso, you must be able to perform unpredictable arm movements in an unconstrained manner. For genital surgeries, you must avoid placing too much pressure on your genitals, which may cause pain. Once you resume driving, begin with short distances. If you must drive a long distance, make frequent stops to walk a little and to urinate. Walking and emptying your bladder reduces pressure on the genitals.

    It is prohibited to drive a motor vehicle after surgery if you are taking narcotic analgesics. 

    Back to top
  • 31. How long will my convalescence last after surgery and when can I return to work?

    For more information about the recovery time involved in each surgery, visit the Surgeries section of our website. Your surgeon can provide you with a sick leave letter for your employer and your insurance company.

    *Please note that recovery time depends on the progress of your healing and the type of work that you do. Estimated convalescence times are for informational purposes only. 

    Back to top
  • 32. When can I start to swim again after my surgical procedure?

    You can resume swimming when your wounds related to your procedure are completely healed. Normally, it is necessary to plan for a complete healing time of about 4 to 6 weeks.

    Back to top