Does Shoulder Width Reduction Surgery Really Reduce The Width Or Just Create The Illusion That It Does?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I’m a young trans person who has extremely bad dysphoria, especially around the shoulder and hips area. I have searched online and even asked on forums to no avail, I even called surgeons in my country but no one is doing anything that can help. Then I found you. 

I have some questions regarding the shoulder width reduction surgery, does the surgery actually reduce shoulder width? I saw on some forums that apparently it just gives the illusion of being reduced and gives bad posture, is this true? 

I’ve also looked into any surgeries that can possibly reduce my frame, when asking about it I was met with hostile responses that I’d end up dying 24 hours later because it would put pressure on the heart. 

My last question is regarding the pelvis and hips, are there any surgeries or even experimental surgeries that are being developed to bring the hips closer to that of a female? I’ve been looking up anything relating to this and all I’ve found are resources that may aid in helping to change bone structure like and . I’m not a surgeon so I don’t know a whole ton about this, all I can do is look at a skeleton and ask questions, like if the clavicle is reduced, wouldn’t the upper rib cage bones also need to be slightly reduced in order to achieve more width reduction? Looking at pictures of a skeleton it looks like the shoulders are connected to a few of the rib cage bones specifically the sockets for the shoulders. I have heard stem cells have been used to help in surgeries, are there any stem cell therapy that’s being developed to help in changing body shape? 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my message, I’m so grateful.

A: In answer to your questions:

1) Shoulder narrowing surgery effectively reduces external shoulder width by removing a segment of the clavicle, the horizontally oriented bone that keeps the shoulder outward. It also does not adversely affect posture. Whomever would say otherwise on these two aspects has no working knowledge of the actual surgery.

2) You can not reduce the ribcage that lies above rib #10 for a variety of medical and surgical execution reasons.

3) Iliac crest implants exist for giving narrow pelvic patients more of a feminine curve.

4) While stem cells have a role in wound healing and the treatment of certain diseases, they have no role in structural body reshaping surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana