A New Jersey woman who identifies as a man has received the first penis operation in the state.
“It’s hard to put into words,” said patient Elijah Stephens after she recovered from the February surgery. “I feel whole, complete — happy beyond happy,” she added, according to NorthJersey.com Wednesday. Stephens has now fully recovered and can stand to urinate and feel sensation in the new body part.
The 14-hour surgery, paid for by the state’s Medicaid program, took place at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Doctors from Rutgers Center For Transgender Health performed the operation. Stephens began her transition 10 years prior to surgery, starting hormones when she was 18 years old.
The surgery wasn’t easy according to lead surgeon Dr. Jonathan Keith, but he is happy with the results. “There’s no textbook written on this,” Keith said. Seven other physicians assisted with the surgery.
Stephens previously had a double mastectomy in 2016 followed by with a hysterectomy and vaginectomy. She plans to have one final surgery to implant a pump that will create an erection, NorthJersey.com reports. (RELATED: First US Soldier Gets Sex Reassignment Surgery On Pentagon’s Dime)
New Jersey is not the only state to teach and perform sex-change surgeries. California now has two medical training centers where doctors who want to learn how to perform sex-reassignment surgery for transgender individuals can go to receive training.
Transgender surgeries rose roughly 20 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons survey of 703 doctors. Less than 0.5 percent of those surgeries were genital, according to the survey released in May, NBC News reported. The 2016 survey included reports from 3,256 transgender surgeries, with the percentage of men transitioning to women and vice versa split roughly down the middle.
The Pentagon paid for the first U.S. soldier to get a sex-change operation on Nov. 15, 2017.
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