How does gender-reassignment surgeon Jess Ting work?

How Does a Gender-Reassignment Surgeon Work?

How Does a Gender-Reassignment Surgeon Work?

What do you do all day?
Dec. 10 2017 2:00 PM

How Does a Gender-Reassignment Surgeon Work?

Dr. Jess Ting talks about his role at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery.

Dr. Jess Ting
Dr. Jess Ting.

Mount Sinai Health System

This season on Working, we’re taking a look at some LGBTQ-specific jobs.

For this week’s episode of Working, which you can listen to via the player above, we chatted with Dr. Jess Ting, a plastic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital who specializes in gender-reassignment surgery. “Transgender surgery used to be a specialty that lived on the margins of the medical world,” Ting tells us. “There were no large medical centers that would allow transgender surgery to happen within their hospitals. You would find a surgeon here or there, usually operating in a small community hospital.”

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That’s changing, thanks in part to the efforts of Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Ting and his team have performed more than 350 transgender surgeries since March 2016. More recently, they created a fellowship program to help train surgeons in the field. Along the way, Ting has helped pioneer new surgical procedures and techniques. That, he tells us, makes his work exciting and sometimes a little scary: “It’s a unique opportunity to be doing a specialty that is so underdeveloped, to be entering the field really in its infancy.”

In this episode, Ting describes some of those surgical processes in detail, but he also talks about the rewards of helping patients who have, in some cases, waited decades for the procedures he conducts. “There are just not that many jobs where you can get up in the morning and say, Today I’m going to change someone’s life,” he says. “That’s the most rewarding part of what I get to do every day. It’s a privilege and a joy.”

Then, in a Slate Plus extra, Ting tells us about what his kids think of his work at Mount Sinai. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview transcripts from Working, plus other great podcast exclusives. Start your two-week free trial at slate.com/workingplus.

Previous episodes in this series:

You can email us via working@slate.com.

Podcast production by Benjamin Frisch.