Exactly how doctors turn a penis into a vagina with surgery.

Ever wondered what’s involved in transitioning from a male to a female body?

A video posted by the European Society of Urology explains in step-by-step animation, the complex procedure involved in turning a penis into a vagina. This is an increasingly popular procedure in the transgender community, commonly known as gender confirmation surgery.*

Fair warning: the five-minute animation is not for the faint-hearted. It shows a surgeon opening the scrotum and removing the testicles and head of the penis to expose nerve endings in order to form a clitoris. The remaining penis shaft and scrotum are then transformed to generate a vaginal canal and labia.

The reshaping of the genitals allows transgender women to have the appearance and function of a normal vagina, including allowing for penetrative sexual intercourse.

Patients undergoing a drastic procedure like this have typically already undergone extensive psychological testing and hormone replacement therapy.

The animation has been hailed as a critical tool to help the wider population understand the grueling physical journey often undertaken by transgender people seeking to be more comfortable in their bodies, and to confirm on the outside who they are on the inside. Although people from around the world who identify as transgender are still alienated, attacked and condemned, studies show genital confirmation surgery has an overwhelming positive effect on a transgender person’s overall well-being.

Research conducted by Essen University Hospital’s Department of Urology found over 90 percent of patients who had undergone male-to-female gender confirmation surgery felt more at ease with themselves, and overwhelmingly said that their expectations had been fulfilled by having the procedure.


Unfortunately, female-to-male gender confirmation surgery isn’t a simple process, though in recent months there has been some exciting progress.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore has given its doctors permission to trial up to 60 penis transplants on wounded soldiers who were injured during their time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the trials are not available to transgender men, doctors remain hopeful they will one day become a standard part of female-to-male gender confirmation surgery.

“Once this becomes public and there’s some sense that this is successful and a good therapy, there will be all sorts of questions about whether [we’ll] do it for gender reassignment,” says Johns Hopkins bioethicist, Dr. Jeffery Kahn.

*Sometimes this procedure is referred to as “gender reassignment,” however transgender individuals prefer to call it “gender confirmation,” as they feel the surgery is simply confirming the gender they already are, not changing, or “reassigning” it.

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Comment: What are your thoughts on the animation of gender confirmation surgery?

This post originally appeared on SheSaid and has been republished with full permission.