Clitoral Release

Clitoral release is a gender-affirming, masculinizing, lower surgery to cut ligaments around the clitoris*clitoris* (with an asterisk) is used to acknowledge the many different words that are used for this body part., releasing it from the pubis*pubis* (with an asterisk) is used to acknowledge the many different words that are used for this body part., giving the shaft more length, thus creating a penis.

What is the procedure for clitoral release?

Surgical techniques vary from surgeon to surgeon.

  1. Being on testosterone creates an enlarged clitoris*.

  2. The ligaments holding the clitoris* in place under the pubic bone are cut.

  3. Some of the surrounding tissue is cut, releasing the clitoris*/creating a phallus.

  4. Fat may be removed from the pubis* and skin may be pulled upward to bring your phallus forward.

  5. The labia majora*labia majora* (with an asterisk) is used to acknowledge the many different words that are used for this body part. can be shaped into a scrotum. The vagina can be removed/closed (if desired).

  6. Testicular implants can be put inside your scrotum at a later stage.

How long will my hospital stay be?

You will be admitted to the recovery residence in Montreal 1 day before your surgery. You’ll probably spend 1 night in hospital and then 2 nights back in the recovery residence.

What medications will I be prescribed after surgery?

You will likely receive painkillers and antibiotics to prevent infection. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of medications to avoid around the time of your surgery.

What should I expect during the healing process?

  • Some bleeding

  • Swelling of the genital region

  • Bruising in your genital region

  • Itching and occasional small shooting electrical sensations as nerve endings heal

  • Small scars on your genitals that will disappear over time

What check-ups will be needed after my surgery?

The number of check-ups needed varies from person to person. If possible, see your primary care provider about a week after you return from Montreal and then every 2-4 weeks for the first few months. When you visit your surgeon or primary care provider, they should check your surgical sites to make sure there are no infections or wound healing problems. They will ask questions about pain, bleeding, urination, bowel movements, fever, and how you are feeling physically and emotionally.

How long will it take for me to get back to my usual activities?

Recovery time varies from person to person, so always follow the advice of your surgeon. You’ll be on bed rest for at least 24 hours following surgery and need plenty of rest in the first week. Over the three weeks following surgery, you will gradually resume your usual activities. Some activities, such as driving, heavy lifting, exercise, sex, and soaking in hot tubs, may be restricted in the post-operative period. Your surgeon will give you advice about when it is okay to resume these activities.

What complications are associated with clitoral release?

All surgical procedures involve some risks, including negative reactions to anesthesia, blood loss, blood clots and infection. These complications can, in extreme cases, result in death. It’s important to discuss these risks in detail with your surgeon. Your surgical care team will take a wide variety of steps to prevent these problems, detect them if they arise, and respond to them appropriately. They will also inform you about what you can do to minimize your risks.

The list below includes some of the complications associated with clitoral release in particular. It does not replace a thorough consultation and discussion of risks with your surgeon.


This is when blood collects in the surgical site, causing pain, swelling and changes in skin colour. May require removal through surgery.

Abscess formation

An abscess is a collection of pus. It’s caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated with antibiotics or drained by the surgeon.


This is when clear fluid accumulates in the surgical site. Seromas may need to be aspirated, or sucked out, once or more by the surgeon.


You can take steps to minimize the extent of scarring by following your surgeon’s advice about reduced activities, sun avoidance and massage. Severe scarring may require surgical revision.

Dissatisfaction with the size and/or shape

Some people may be dissatisfied with the size and/or shape of the penis*, (Check with your surgeon to see if surgical revision is possible.)

Decreased sensation and ability to achieve orgasm

The risk of decreased sensation with clitoral release is less than with phalloplasty but changes to sensation are still possible.

Implant complications

You may choose to get testicular implants. Complications associated with testicular implants include poor positioning, extrusion of implants and infection. If positioning problems occur, the implants can be surgically removed and replaced. Infections can be treated with antibiotics and when necessary, abscesses can be drained.

What expenses are not covered by MSP?

Please see our Surgery Funding for more information.