A Cleveland plastic surgeon whoâs performed more than 850 double mastectomies for transgender men says respect and openness are among the keys to success. Surgeons must be willing to undergo public scrutiny, he says, and they must treat patients with the proper gravitas as they undergo what may be the most important procedure of their lives.
The mastectomy procedures themselves are typically quick and well-tolerated operations, says Daniel Medalie, M.D., a plastic surgeon with Metrohealth Medical Center of Cleveland and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. âItâs not any harder than a breast reduction or other procedures that plastic surgeons do,â he says.
But does Dr. Medalieâs own extraordinary workload â he performed double mastectomies on some 850 patients from 2006 to 2015 â suggest that many of his colleagues may not be as willing to work with transgender patients who want to transition from female to male? âPeople shouldnât be coming from all over the country and world to see Daniel Medalie in Cleveland, Ohio,â he says.
Dr. Medalie reports on his experiences in a report that was released in poster form at The Aesthetic Meeting in April. He spoke with Cosmetic Surgery Times about his continuing commitment to transgender patients, and he provided advice for surgeons who wish to follow in his footsteps.
He first encountered transgender surgeries, mostly male to female, while training at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating in 1999, he worked at the University of Kentucky.
Like his colleagues who perform breast augmentation surgeries, he began to be approached by transgender patients seeking breast surgery. âThe difference between me and them was that Iâd say, âSure, no problem.â Any plastic surgeon can do this kind of surgery, but there has to be a willingness to do it.â
He performed more double mastectomy procedures after moving to Cleveland in 2002, and his presence on the Internet sparked intense interest from transgender patients. His YouTube videos of two types of procedures have attracted more than 500,000 hits, he says.
âA vast majority of patients come from out of town and other countries,â he says. âMany people come from England because itâs more expensive to have it done there than to come to Cleveland and stay for a week.â
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