“These surgeries do not treat mental illness nor prevent suicide,” Cretella said in a statement, “[but] They do mutilate and permanently sterilize children who have no capacity to assess let alone consent to such life-changing interventions.”
The procedures Boston Children’s Hospital conducts on transgender children and teens include breast augmentation, chest reconstruction, “facial harmonization,” a surgical procedure that modifies the face to appear more feminine or masculine, and surgical techniques to raise or lower a child’s voice to match how they identify.
The hospital also performs genital surgeries that are known to carry a high risk of complications for teens. Boston’s initial guidance said these surgeries could be performed on minors 17 years of age, then updated its guidance to say 18, after the story broke.
These include metidioplasty and phalloplasty – the surgical creation of a penis using existing genital tissue or flaps of skin – and vaginoplasty, the surgical creation of a vagina.
These procedures are described by surgeons and physicians at Boston Children’s Hospital in a series of YouTube videos that the hospital put out to market the procedures they offer.
Phalloplasty, as the hospital describes, is a 12-hour surgery conducted on girls seeking to transition into boys. A girl who undergoes phalloplasty must first have a hysterectomy. Then skin is “harvested” to construct a penis from another place on her body, such as the thigh or forearm. The “vagina may also be removed” and the surgeon grafts the new “penis” into place. On average, it takes a patient 12 to 18 months to heal from a phalloplasty.