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North Shore University Hospital is first on Long Island to offer genital gender-confirmation surgery for transgender patients

Northwell surgeon David M. Whitehead, MD, third from right, and members of the team that performed Long Island’s first genital gender confirmation surgery, with David Rosenthal, DO, medical director of Northwell’s Center for Transgender Care.
Northwell surgeon David M. Whitehead, MD, third from right, and members of the team that performed Long Island’s first genital gender confirmation surgery, with David Rosenthal, DO, medical director of Northwell’s Center for Transgender Care.

Northwell Health offers vaginoplasty for transgender women

MANHASSET, NY —

North Shore University Hospital announced that it has begun offering genital gender confirmation surgery for members of the transgender/gender non-conforming/non-binary community, the first hospital on Long Island to do so. The surgical team has performed a procedure known as vaginoplasty for transgender women, surgically constructing female genitalia out of the patients’ own tissue. Plans are underway to offer metoidioplasty and phalloplasty to create male genitalia for transgender men.

The new surgical capabilities extend the comprehensive suite of services that Northwell Health offers to the gender diverse community at Long Island’s Center for Transgender Care and at the Gerald J. Friedman Transgender Program for Health and Wellness at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. These clinical hubs provide a full range of integrated care, including primary care, gynecology, endocrinology, behavioral health and an array of supportive services. Other surgical procedures available include facial feminization, tracheal shave (reduction thyroid chondroplasty), vocal surgery, breast augmentation, chest masculinization (mastectomy), orchiectomy and hysterectomy.

“I am glad for the opportunity to provide gender affirmation surgery at an institution where there has been a serious commitment to offering trans-friendly care,” said David M. Whitehead, MD, who performed the procedures. “Every person’s experience of gender is unique, and I am happy to work with every patient to determine how I can help them have their body better match their gender goals.”

Commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community

Dr. Whitehead is one of the first two surgeons to complete a formal, year-long, gender confirmation surgery fellowship based in the United States. The clinical team providing genital gender affirmation surgery at North Shore University Hospital also includes a pelvic floor physical therapy team that works closely with patients before and after surgery, and a wound care team that is available for home visits when needed. Cross-disciplinary collaboration, with colorectal, urological and gynecological surgeons and fertility specialists, is also an important part of the process.

Northwell’s commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community is reflected in an emphasis on creating an inclusive and respectful environment, with an active, system-wide commitment to reflecting individuals’ preferred names and pronouns in the electronic health record. In August, Northwell was ranked the No. 3 health system in the nation by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer watchdog organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, based on the number of facilities designated a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality. Twenty Northwell hospitals – 25 facilities in all – earned the designation in the HRC Healthcare Equality Index, a benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ patient, visitation and employment policies.