Choosing a surgeon can be overwhelming! Here are our tips for questions to ask your surgeon when getting ready for gender affirming procedures. Sign up for our mailing list to download a copy of our handout.
Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
Items that can often be answered online or by staff:
- Are you board certified*?
- What are you board certified in?
- What fellowships/residencies did you do and are they fellowships recognized by your board?
- May I get a copy of your CV?
Questions directly for the surgeon:
- How many years have you been in practice?
- My surgical goals are X, Y, and/or Z. Do you have experience treating other individuals with similar goals? What procedures would you recommend based on my goals, body, and health?
- Would you explain why you would recommend these procedures rather than other options?
- How many patients have you treated with these procedures? How many times have you done these procedures?
- May I review photos (often has to be done in the office)?
- What is your complication rate for these procedures?
- What is the most common complications and the potential outcomes? How do you monitor for those complications?
- I have the following health issues (if relevant) ***. How do they affect the complication rates or expected surgical outcomes?
- What medications would you want me to stop before surgery, and for how long?
- What is your aftercare? Would I stay in a hospital or go to a hotel?
- How long do you follow me postoperatively?
- Do you have patients I could talk to?
- What is your revision policy?
Questions Regarding the Surgical Facility:
- Do you practice out of an accredited facility**?
- What procedures are you credentialed in at your hospital?
*What does board-certified mean?
Board certification by an ABMS Member Board involves a rigorous process of testing and peer evaluation that is designed and administered by specialists in a specific area of medicine. Nearly 800,000 doctors are board certified by an ABMS Member Board.
What is the American Board of Medical Specialties?
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), established in 1933, is a nationally recognized nonprofit medical organization made up of 24 Member Boards that oversee doctor-specialty certification in the U.S. It assists the member boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of doctor specialists.
What are the standards for board certification by an ABMS Member Board? Before becoming board certified, each doctor must:
Finish four years of premedical education in a college or university;
- Earn a medical degree (MD, DO, or other credential approved by an ABMS Member Board) from a qualified medical school;
- Complete three to five years of full-time experience in a residency training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME);
- Obtain an unrestricted medical license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada;
- Pass a written and, in some cases, an oral examination created and administered by an ABMS Member Board.
Is Your Doctor Board-Certified?
American Board of Medical Specialties This is the American Board of Medical Specialties website. It will also direct you to specific board certification websites.
There are four ways you can find out if your doctor-or a doctor you are considering-is Board Certified by an ABMS Member Board.
- Check Online at
- Call toll free 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275 2267)
- Contact an ABMS Member Board You can request written verification of Board Certification by contacting the Member Board in the doctor’s specialty.
- Look in the Book The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists provides up-to-date professional and biographical information on physicians who have met the certification requirements of their respective medical specialty boards. “The Official ABMS Directory” can be found in many medical and public libraries.
For Plastic Surgeons:
American Board of Plastic Surgery
American Board of Urology
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
**What is an accredited facility?
Read our blog on How To Check Out Your Surgeon.
***Health Conditions That Can Affect Surgery
Your surgeon (and anesthesiologist) will ask you about your overall health and the medications or substances you use before surgery. It is particularly important to let your anesthesiologist know if you use cocaine or cannabis.
What conditions can negatively impact my surgery risk?
- Conditions that impact your breathing such as COPD, asthma, and sleep apnea.
- Conditions that change how your blood carries oxygen or clots.
- Conditions that change how your body reacts to stress.
- Conditions that change how your body heals or fights infections.