The number of adolescents and adults identifying as trans or gender-diverse is increasing. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and “other” (LGBTQ+) population is recognized as a marginalized health care population. This retrospective study sought to investigate demographic trends in transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youth accessing surgical care in the United States.
Using a multi-institutional dataset from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), we described demographic and periprocedural data for TGD adolescents, ages 10 to 18 years, who underwent a surgical procedure between January 1, 2016 and August 31, 2022.
Among 767,224 youth who underwent surgical procedures during the study period, 807 (0.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.09–0.11) were identified as TGD. The overall prevalence of identified TGD youth increased from 0.02% in 2016 to 0.23% in 2022. TGD youth were mostly (71%) assigned female at birth and 13 to 18 years of age (91%, 733/807) at the time of surgery. A total of 76% of TGD patients were non-Hispanic White, 62% had commercial insurance, and 49% lived in a ZIP code with a median annual income between $39,000 and $63,000. Of the 807 TGD patients identified, 264 (33%) were from the Northeast, 226 (28%) were from the Midwest, 219 (27%) were from the West, and 98 (12%) were from the South census regions. The most common procedures for TGD youth to undergo were breast reduction/augmentation (n = 135), insertion/removal of subcutaneous implant device (n = 98), and orthopedic procedures of the hip and lower extremity (n = 29).
We reported the perioperative characteristics of TGD youth and showed a steady increase in the detected prevalence of TGD adolescents accessing surgical care. Future investigations into specific challenges associated with caring for these patients are warranted.