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. 

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 electrologists. 

Vaginoplasty

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 electrologists. 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. 

To start funded pre-surgical hair removal

  • 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 electrologists.
  • You can reach out to an electrologist on the PHSA approved vendors list to schedule an appointment. You will want to provide your hair removal recommendation letter to your electrologist so they are aware that your hair removal is funded. 
  • Some initial treatment by laser may be recommended depending on your care needs and hair type. Your electrologist will determine whether laser hair removal may be appropriate for your care. If so, your electrologist will refer you to an approved laser provider. 
  • PHSA pays the providers directly - you will not have to pay the provider.

Additional 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 electrologists 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. 

Pain management

  • Pain relief options may be useful in making hair removal more tolerable. Your electrologist 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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