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At Least 602 Canadian Girls Under 18 Have Had Breasts Removed or Reduced in Last 5 Years: Data

More than 600 female youth under the age of 18 have had their breasts either fully removed or reduced in Canada since 2018, according to new data provided by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and compiled for National Post.

The CIHI documented hospitalizations and day surgery visits for bilateral mastectomies as part of gender reassignment surgery, with 536 in 2018–2019, and rising to 985 in 2022–2023. A total of 4,071 visits were recorded for mastectomies or breast reductions by transgender individuals, and of those, 602 were carried out on children under the age of 18.

The youngest child documented was age 14, and 303 of those procedures were performed in teenagers aged 17 and younger. The data from CIHI did not include hospitals in Quebec or private clinics.

A specialist in transgender health told Postmedia that 50 to 70 percent of youth who apply for funding from the Ontario government for gender surgeries choose a private clinic in Mississauga, so the number of young women having mastectomies could be significantly higher. Some provinces provide public coverage for these surgeries, but not the additional cosmetic procedures to fine-tune after the mastectomies—for example, liposuction or contouring to appear more masculine.

The CIHI data indicate there were 536 hospital procedures involving mastectomies for transgender individuals in 2018–2019, and 14 percent of those (76) were performed on youth under the age of 18. Most are performed under general anesthesia through day surgery.

In 2022, surgical backlogs drove those numbers down, but private clinics reportedly continued to take patients. One doctor told Postmedia that the private clinics don’t want to share their numbers.

“Private clinics just kept churning them through,” said the doctor, speaking anonymously. “The fact that you can’t get the numbers from private clinics … It’s very cloak-and-dagger. They’re still billing OHIP [Ontario Health Insurance Plan]. That’s tax dollars. That should be publicly accessible information. We need to see these numbers and ask questions,” the doctor added.

For several months, Canadian parents and members of the community have been taking part in protests about gender ideology in schools, putting a spotlight on the rise in youth who are identifying with gender dysphoria.

Some European countries have moved to restrict irreversible gender surgeries to adults over the age of 19. However, Canadian surgeons are performing breast removals on girls as young as 14, the CIHI numbers indicate. CIHI did not immediately respond to requests for information.

A new report published Oct. 1 in the Plastic Reconstructive Surgery Journal, titled “Gender-Affirming Surgery in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Review of Ethical and Surgical Considerations,” said the number of transgender teenagers asking for “gender-affirming surgery” is increasing. The report said that caring for transgender adolescent patients brought up “important ethical, legal, and technical considerations that must be addressed by the clinical team,” especially as the population of youth seeking surgeries after puberty-blocking drugs is increasing.

“Future research is needed describing functional and psychosocial outcomes in these individuals,” said the researchers.

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