FtM Phalloplasty: The African Perspective

In South Africa, we have very few SRS surgeons. Those that we have very seldom do Phalloplasty and are therefore not very experienced and give inferior results with many complications.

I started out my transition thinking I would never get lower surgery. After a few years on testosterone, that changed and I realized I needed to complete my transition.

I started researching surgeons from all over the world.

My criteria were that I did not want to use my arm [for donor tissue] and that I could urinate standing up.

I spent about a year researching and one day came across Dr Perovic’s website.

I knew immediately I wanted the Sava Perovic Team to be my surgeon.

I contacted his case manager Richard and received the quote.

I felt really depressed as I did not have the money and didn’t know how I could ever save enough.

I contacted a local surgeon and went for an assessment.

Later that year, I received a date for surgery and in that moment knew that I couldn’t proceed.

I realized I have one chance at being happy and the results of my surgery would be with me forever.

I sat down and started planning.

I knew my target and, even though it seemed impossible, I just somehow got the courage to believe it could be possible.

I started saving every cent I had.

I no longer went out, did not buy new clothes and bought as cheap food as I could to get by.

The time came when I was almost ready to go and the foreign currency exchange rate shot up.

My loving family came to the rescue and I was able to meet the deadline for my surgery date.

I was all of a sudden filled with panic.

I would be going to a country I had never even heard about before the website.

I had no idea what the hospitals were going to be like or even if the doctors and nurses could speak English.

BUT I was determined to start what I had finished.

When I arrived in Belgrade, I was really nervous but Dr Nikola picked me up from the airport and he had such a calming effect on me.

He was very easy going and made me laugh all the way to the clinic.

When I arrived at the clinic I started to feel even better.

It was really clean and the nurses were very friendly.

There were two American guys there who were further on with their stages and they helped a lot in answering questions.

At this stage I knew nothing about the surgeons and had spoken to nobody who had been there before.

The anesthesiologiist was incredibly friendly and very confident which helped me to relax a lot.

Dr Rados came to see me before surgery and he was really great, answered my questions and put me at ease.

Dr Rados is an incredible surgeon and his talent is world class.

The physiotherapist was amazing.

She really helped to stretch the skin before surgery and was very kind.

The nurses were incredible.

They worked long shifts but were always so supportive, kind and went out of their way to make sure everything was OK.

The rooms were cleaned very well, dressings were changed often, trash bags emptied, and care taken to ensure that I was comfortable which was not easy in that situation but, compared to South African private clinics, the attention I received was exceptional.

Richard has been absolutely unbelievable in his attention to detail and questions were answered honestly and quickly.

It has been a year now, and I am ready to go back for my second stage and I am excited, no longer nervous and quite happy at the prospects of seeing everyone at the clinic again.

I have sensation about half way up my phallus which is a bonus for me as this was one of the things that wasn’t one of my priorities.

I have a good size penis and will next year start saving towards the penile prosthesis implant.

A couple of things that make me realize how fortunate I am is the fact that it will be possible for me to urinate normally plus I will be able to have intercourse and not be ashamed of having a small penis.

Aesthetically, my penis is better than I had hoped for. And I have become so confident and proud of my body.

It is so nice to be able to look at myself naked in a mirror again.

I know that the choice I made was the best choice I could have made.

I do not regret for a minute going to Serbia and would love to go on holiday there one day.

The people are great and it is a beautiful country.

— Zain, South Africa [18 November 2010]