Patient Guide

Our Center for Transgender Health team is dedicated to helping patients with every part of their gender-affirmation journey. We share the following resources to assist with issues that arise in relation to your treatment and to support you in living a full, authentic life. Please contact the team if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I become a new patient with the Center for Transgender Health?

Contact our office by phone at 617-732-5303 or email at during our business hours of Monday–Friday, 8 am–4:30 pm.

All patients will be required to set up a patient account by contacting Patient Registration at 866-489-4056.

How do I utilize Patient Gateway?

Please visit Brigham and Women's Patient Gateway by following the instructions to get set up for an account. A member of our team can also send a link for you to sign up through email or text.

Once signed up, patients can communicate with providers, view and request to cancel/reschedule upcoming appointments, access test results, upload insurance cards, request prescription refills, and view and pay bills online.

How do I update my contact or insurance information?

Please contact Patient Registration at 866-489-4056 to update your information in your patient account. Any insurance changes should be communicated to the office by calling 617-732-5303 or sending a message through Patient Gateway, as they may impact scheduled appointments or surgery.

Do I need to be in person for the consult, or can I schedule a virtual appointment?

All patients are required to come into the office for the consult appointment in order for your provider to conduct an in-person assessment.

What should I do if I am going to be late for my appointment?

Please contact our office at 617-732-5303 so we can notify the provider and make any scheduling changes, if needed.

What should I do if I have an urgent medical question during the weekend or outside of weekday business hours?

Please contact the Plastic Surgery resident on-call by dialing 617-732-6660. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, we advise patients to call 9-1-1 or present to the nearest emergency room.

Will I need letters of support for surgery?

An insurance review will be completed and documented in the patient chart to confirm coverage requirements, including additional information on letters of support.

While many insurance companies have updated to WPATH SOC8 guidelines, it is encouraged for patients to seek letters of support following WPATCH SOC7 guidelines unless otherwise specified in the insurance review.

Under WPATH SOC7, insurance generally require one letter of support from a qualified behavioral health provider for gender affirming top surgeries as well as one letter for facial gender surgery. Gender affirming bottom surgeries generally require two letters of support in total. These are often documented by qualified behavioral health providers such as licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health counselors, etc. Please pay attention to your insurance review as this often details who can write both letters of support. Sometimes primary care providers, endocrinologist’s, psychiatrists, or providers familiar with your health are considered qualified by an insurance plan.

Do I need to stay in Boston after surgery?

Depending on the type of surgery, patients will need to stay locally for post-operative recovery and follow-up appointments. For example, for phalloplasty surgery, we ask most patients to stay in Boston for 4-6 weeks following Stage 1 surgery, and 4-5 weeks after Stage 2. Please see our Patient Resources for more information regarding information and support for local accommodations.

Will I need hair removal, and can I start the process before the consult?

For phalloplasty patients, the need for hair removal will be based on the type of phalloplasty and donor site. If hair removal is required, we will conduct testing during and possibly after the consultation to determine which donor site will be used for your phalloplasty surgery.

Hair removal is always required for vaginoplasty surgery.

In both cases, you may start hair removal prior to the consult, but please note that for phalloplasty we cannot guarantee that the site you perform hair removal on will be the donor site we will use for your surgery. This can only be determined in person at your consultation. We can provide a document with general information, as well as a template for the hair removal technician to follow. However, we will not be able to provide a letter of medical necessity for insurance purposes until after the consult.

What to Expect: Preparing for Your Surgical Consultation

What is a consult?

A consult will be your first appointment with your new healthcare provider. This is an opportunity for you to meet and get to know your healthcare team. You will also meet our scheduling team, who will walk you through the insurance process: what to expect, what is needed, etc., and if appropriate, someone from our social work team.

Do I need to be in person for the consult, or can I schedule a virtual appointment?

All patients are required to come into the office for the consult appointment in order for your provider to conduct an in-person assessment.

Should I come alone?

We recommend you bring along your main support system through your expected healing process. It will be important for all of us to set up good communication so they can help you, and we can help you too.

What should I bring?

Your initial consult with us is very information driven. Please bring your photo ID, insurance card, and list of medications. We recommend you bring a list of questions you would like to go over with the clinical team, and some method to take notes. After your appointment, we know you will have questions, and we are available to answer them as best we can.

How long does a consult take?

A consult averages 30 minutes to an hour, but sometimes longer depending on the type of surgery. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes early to your appointment, and plan to be with us at least 60–90 minutes. The majority of that time is face-to-face time with your provider to understand your goals for surgery, so that you can develop a plan together that can achieve those goals. After meeting with your provider, you may also meet with a member of the office staff who will help answer any questions about insurance coverage, as well as a social worker to go over your post-operative care plan.

Will I be able to see reference photos?

We do have photos of patients that have consented to allow us to show photos in clinic only. At this time, given the sensitive nature of the surgeries, and our patient’s journey and privacy, we do not post or distribute them electronically.

Should I expect to have photos taken?

Part of our surgical consultations will require photos to be taken of the surgical site. We will let you know when we are getting to that point of the appointment, and we do our best to minimize any discomfort.

Can I discuss all my surgeries with the doctor in one visit?

This depends on provider preferences. Generally, each surgery: top, bottom, and face, requires its own consult. These consults are extensive time spent with the provider in face-to-face education and discussion on surgical techniques, risks and benefits, and desired outcomes.

What does it cost to have a consult?

Most consults are covered by your insurance plan. Each insurance plan has its own coverage regarding specialist appointments and gender affirming care. We encourage patients to contact their insurance company regarding coverage for appointment visits. Please also keep in mind that clinic visits may have additional facility fees that are billed to your insurance plan as well.

Patient Resources

Behavioral Health
  • Gender Identity Validation Services (GIVS): A non-profit, donations-based organization in Western Massachusetts. GIVS can connect patients with behavioral health providers to complete assessments/write letters of support for gender affirming care. Please note most providers are licensed in Massachusetts and patients will have to be in Massachusetts at the time of the assessment for a letter of support.
  • Queer Therapy Boston: A Boston-based practice that offers therapy services and may be able to connect patients with one of their providers for an assessment/letter of support.
Financial Support and Local Accommodations
  • Queer Care: A non-profit organization that offers resources to patients accessing gender affirming care. They currently offer up to $250 in reimbursement per gender-affirming surgery to help with any related costs (for example: accommodations, nutrition assistance, personal care, supplies, etc.).
  • Hospitality Homes: A non-profit group that provides housing for non-local patients seeking medical treatment in Boston by matching patients with local hosts, apartments, and hotels. Recommended that patients to reach out to apply and discuss accommodation options while planning out their local stay for routine post-op care.
  • Local/Discounted Hotels: Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a list of local hotels that offer discounted rates for patients, in addition to a general list of area hotels and furnished accommodations.
Advocacy and Legal Support
Support Groups

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