International leading plastic surgeon volunteers to help Irish trans community

Dr Sidhbh Gallagher is a plastic surgeon who has performed 400 gender affirmation surgeries since 2015.

plastic surgeon

An international leading plastic surgeon has volunteered her services to the Irish transgender community in a meeting with the Health Minister.

Dr Sidhbh Gallagher had a meeting with Simon Harris during a trip home from the US to give a talk at the Northern Ireland Trans Pride Festival in Belfast.

The Co Louth woman, who has helped more than 400 transgender people at her clinic in Indiana, has offered to either teach or do surgery here, where gender confirmation procedures are covered by the HSE.

Dr Sidhbh said:

“Not all procedures are available here in Ireland. In Dublin, there is one plastic surgeon doing mastectomies for female to male patients but that’s it. The HSE does cover these surgeries but patients right now have to go abroad, usually to London to get them.”

She continues: “I did have a great conversation with Simon Harris last week and he’s very interested in bringing care for the Irish transgender community up to international standards. He understands gender dysphoria is a serious condition which if not treated appropriately can result in high suicide rates.

“I volunteered my services, whether that’s teaching or trying to get waiting lists down but it’s something I’d absolutely love to do as I’ve been out of this country 12 years and often hear from transgender patients here who are waiting up to nine years for a procedure that takes two hours.”

Sidhbh said the medical profession hasn’t always understood the needs of patients in the past.

She added: “The medical profession’s history with the transgender community over the years hasn’t been great. There has been a lot of misunderstanding and even mistreatment. This field has become my niche about five years ago and it’s definitely the most meaningful and gratifying work I’ve ever done.

“Years ago, if you identified as transgender, you were thought to be mentally ill and now we know that is simply not the case. Recently the WHO declassified ‘gender identity disorder’ as a mental illness.”

The HSE could not give details on the number of Irish people who have had gender confirmation surgery or who are waiting to have the procedure.

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