Here is an outline of the process for getting a surgical readiness assessment.
1Get referred to an assessor
*Note: depending on the type of gender-affirming surgeries you are interested in, one or two assessments may be required. If you require two assessments, they must be carried out by different assessors. Additional assessments may be required at the discretion of the surgeon.
- Your primary care provider will send a referral for a surgical readiness assessment directly to a qualified assessor, OR;
- Your primary care provider will send a request to Trans Care BC who can refer you to a qualified assessor available in your community, OR;
- Your primary care provider may be a qualified assessor and they can carry out the assessment themselves.
Surgical readiness assessments are funded if done with qualified assessors working in the publicly funded healthcare system. There are also private qualified assessors such as psychologists or clinical counsellors who will charge you or your extended benefits plan for the assessment.
if you (or your primary care provider) need support in finding a qualified assessor in your community.
- Once you are referred, wait times for surgical readiness assessment fluctuate, but most people complete their assessments within 6 months.
- An assessment appointment typically lasts between one and two hours. You may need to return for a second visit if you don't have a plan in place to be cared for after your surgery or for other reasons such as complexities in your current health or social situation.
During the assessment, you will be asked about:
- Your gender identity and feelings about your body.
- Your expectations of the surgery and how it will impact you socially, emotionally and financially.
- Your health history (current and past medical and mental health conditions, surgical history, medications, allergies, smoking status, exercise, nutrition, family history, etc.)
- Your understanding of the surgical procedure, risks and post-operative healing process.
- Your support network and strategies for thriving in your changing gender expression with family and friends, at work and at school.
- Your surgical aftercare plan.
3Get your recommendation
- After your assessment appointment, The qualified assessor will make one of these recommendations:
- Surgery is recommended
- Surgery not recommended at this time, or
- Return for further assessment
- The qualified assessor will send the recommendation to the provider who requested the assessment.
- Once your primary care provider receives a copy of your surgical recommendation, which is sent to them from the qualified assessor(s), they can refer you for surgery. The next steps vary depending on the kind of surgery you are having. Visit the surgery referral page for more information
While counselling can play an important role for some trans people seeking surgery it is not typically required to get approval for an MSP-funded surgery. Counselling may be especially helpful or recommended if:
- You require ongoing support beyond your current care team or network
- You are uncertain about whether surgery is the right decision
- You are not out to significant others and do not have a plan in place to come out
- You have significant mental health concerns or addiction concerns which surgery may intensify