Surgical care planning
Here is an outline of the process for getting a surgical recommendation.
1Arrange surgical care planning
Upper surgery: You will need one surgical recommendation. This can be done by a clinician who meets the qualifications and competencies outlined in the WPATH Standards of Care 8- this can include your primary care provider or a counsellor.
Gonadectomy: You may need one surgical recommendation. This can be done by a clinician who meets the qualifications and competencies outlined in the WPATH Standards of Care 8- this can include your primary care provider or a counsellor.
You will need one surgical recommendation. This recommendation must be completed by a provider on Trans Care BC’s list of clinicians who are qualified to do surgical care planning for genital surgeries. Contact Us
for help finding a clinician qualified to do surgical care planning for genital surgery.
There are different ways to arrange surgical care planning:
- Your primary care provider may be able to do surgical care planning and provide the surgical recommendation
- Your primary care provider will send a referral for directly to a surgical care planner, OR;
- Your primary care provider will send a request to Trans Care BC who can refer you to a surgical care planner in your community,
- Your primary care provider will send a request to Trans Care BC, who can arrange an appointment for surgical care planning
- You can contact a surgical care planner directly in some circumstances (i.e. a psychologist or a clinical counsellor in private practice)
Funding for surgical care planning:
- There is no cost for the surgical care planning when a clinician working in the publicly funded healthcare system completes it.
- Surgical care planners (such as psychologists or clinical counsellors) who work in private practice charge you or your extended benefits plan for the recommendation (this can only be done for upper surgery and gonadectomy).
if you (or your primary care provider) need support in finding a qualified assessor in your community.
2Surgical care planning
- Wait times for surgical care planning fluctuate, but most people complete their care planning within 6 months.
- A care planning appointment typically lasts between one and two hours. The number of appointments depends on your unique situation, the clinician and the setting. Sometimes the surgical care planner may need to consult other members of your health care team or specialists to complete your surgical care plan.
During your care planning appointment, 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.
3Receive a surgical recommendation
Be referred for surgery
- Once your primary care provider receives a copy of your surgical recommendation, 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.
Counselling is often very helpful for trans people seeking surgery but 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