Understanding Breast Development in Transgender Women
The presence of shapely breasts that best complement the body’s natural contours has always been one indicator of traditional femininity. Transgender women who have already begun their transition can develop feminine breasts through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), breast augmentation surgery, or a combination of both.
What Does HRT Do to the Bodies of Male-to-Female Transgender People?
Transitioning begins with socialization (living outwardly as one’s true gender) and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The therapy is often provided by an endocrinologist who specializes in the care and treatment of transgender patients.
The combination of estrogen and anti-androgens (testosterone blockers) feminizes the traditionally masculine features of transgender women. While it cannot undo the natural effects of puberty, HRT’s long-term effects will lead to a host of physical, emotional, and mental changes. This includes mood and behavioral response and a change in sexual expression.
Physically, hormone replacement therapy will lead to the development of secondary feminine characteristics. This oversees the changes in hair growth and pattern development, skin texture, and, most importantly, the redistribution of fat – particularly in the cheeks, thighs, hips, buttocks, and breasts.
Breast Growth Through Hormone Replacement Therapy
Breast growth in transgender women typically begins within three months into HRT. The growth of the breasts themselves will increase dramatically within the first six months – 1 year. While growth will significantly slow down after this time, the breasts will continue to develop in the years to come.
Additionally, transgender women will begin to experience enhanced nipple sensations as their breasts grow, together with the development of breast ducts. These changes can be intensified when progesterone is introduced into a treatment plan.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that the therapy’s starting age heavily influences these changes. For instance, a transgender woman who begins HRT at a relatively late age will not have significant results as a transgender woman who started treatment at a younger age.
Through a carefully observed treatment plan, the breasts of transgender women will grow to become very similar to those of cisgender women. For some transgender women, this is enough, and they are happy with the current size and shape of their breasts. On the other hand, other transwomen may not be satisfied with these limited changes. They may seek shape and size that better resembles the breasts of cisgender women.
Transgender Chest Development in Female-to-Male Patients
Surgical Breast Enhancements
MTF Top/Breast Enhancement surgery is an option for transgender women who seek to improve their breasts’ contour following a period of HRT. This is just one of the many procedures under the Gender Confirmation Surgery umbrella – a series of reconstructive procedures designed to help transgender men and women better pass as their true selves.
Breast enhancement surgery is similar to breast augmentation; a procedure often sought out by cisgender women to improve the contour of their breasts. An implant (typically saline or silicone) is placed above or below the chest muscles through an incision beneath the areola, breast, or arm. While the procedure results are immediate, it can take up to 6 months until the final results settle on the chest wall.
Is MTF Breast Augmentation Worth it?
The combination of hormone replacement therapy and breast enhancement surgery can significantly enhance the bodies of transgender women into a distinctly feminine contour. For many transwomen, these changes are satisfying enough to live out a full life on just HRT alone.
A study published by Translational Andrology and Urology found that transgender people are more likely to undergo top (chest) surgery than reconstructive surgery of the genitals. This study suggests that top surgery may be vital to transgender patients because it dramatically realigns their outward appearance.
With the right support system and access to proper care, transitioning and undergoing gender confirmation surgery of the chest can be incredibly worth it.
If you are a transgender woman in and around the Midwest, it is essential to take the proper steps when beginning your transition. Seek out the counsel of a licensed therapist who specializes in gender transitioning. Their care will eventually lead you to find the right team doctors who can help you attain a long, healthy, fulfilling, and authentic life.