Pre-Surgical Hair Removal in B.C.

Information about pre-surgical hair removal for B.C. patients, including the process to start funded pre-surgical hair removal.

The Gender Surgery Program BC (GSP BC) recommends permanent hair removal prior to certain gender-affirming genital surgeries. 

Details related to pre-surgical hair removal funding

  • Medically necessary hair removal is funded for areas of the body that are:
    • Difficult to treat after surgery and; 
    • Known to increase the risk of complications post-operatively.  A diagram of these regions are shared with the hair removal vendors and include the following:
      • The strip of skin on the arm or thigh that becomes the urethra for phalloplasty. 
      • The area of the genitals that will become the internal cavity for vaginoplasty. 
  • Hair removal expenses cannot be reimbursed. If you begin hair removal prior to receiving recommendation from the surgery program these expenses will be yours to pay.
  • There may be other areas that you would like to complete hair removal that extends past what is considered medically necessary. These would be an out of pocket expense. 

To start funded pre-surgical hair removal

  • You will need to be referred to a surgical site by your primary care provider. 
  • You will be contacted by the surgical team to set up your surgical consult. Hair removal requirements will be discussed at this appointment. 
  • If hair removal is initiated, you will receive an information package. This includes: 
    • Recommendation letter;
    • Diagram of where hair removal should be completed;
    • List of PHSA approved hair removal vendors.
  • You can reach out to a funded hair removal vendor on the PHSA approved vendors list to schedule an appointment. You will want to provide your hair removal recommendation letter to your hair removal vendor so they are aware that your hair removal is funded. 
  • PHSA pays the providers directly - you will not have to pay the provider.

Phalloplasty with urethral lengthening

Pre-surgical, permanent, hair removal via electrolysis is required. It is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Health and brokered through PHSA (Provincial Health Services Authority-Trans Care BC) who contracts with hair removal vendors.  Only the section of the graft required for urethral lengthening is covered.


Pre-surgical hair removal is strongly recommended, and in some cases, required. It is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Health and brokered through PHSA (Provincial Health Services Authority-Trans Care BC) who contracts with hair removal vendors. The hair removal approach is determined on an individualized basis with the surgical team. 

  • Hair removal for vaginoplasty is, ideally, done pre-operatively via electrolysis or a combination of laser and electrolysis.
  • Alternate options can be discussed with the surgical team if significant barriers exist with hair removal. In some cases, manual hair cautery may be possible during surgery. 
  • The decision not to do pre-surgical hair removal should only be decided after informed consent discussion with the surgical team.
Medically necessary hair removal in preparation for surgery is funded. The Gender Surgery Program BC surgeons make this recommendation at your surgical consult and will provide you with a recommendation letter. 

Pain management

  • Pain relief options may be useful in making hair removal more tolerable. Your hair removal vendor can provide options for funded topical pain relief as well as other strategies to reduce pain. 

SOURCE: Pre-Surgical Hair Removal in B.C. ( )
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