Let’s start with this message I got in 2011 when I originally tried to petition the Bangkok Gender Clinic to continue with the buccal cell experiment:
Hello [me], did you started the petition for buccal cell testing etc?
I understand the spirit behind it and I absolutely support the project which is why i pushed forward, but we are only a small establishment and if we were to continue forward – we will have to pay a big amount of money to the hospital into the facilities and medical professionals involved.
In general, it’s do-able although very new – but no one really understands how this may be in the long term
the buccal cell is a good secondary SRS alternative for girls who have had their primary SRS with blotched results (or lack of depth). this may be proceedable. (may meaning not 100%)
I seek for your understanding to bring down the petition, I’ll move forward if I can and shall update you when I can.
Hi hi, yes I am the one who started the petition.
What is it about it that would cost a big amount to do, as opposed to the traditional SRS?
And in terms of being new, what is it that is new about it, other than that this is the first time it’s being done on trans people? It has been done on MRKH women since at least 2005 with high success rates, so can it really be considered unknown?
And is it true that the reasons that it was halted was because the current techniques are “good enough”, and there was a lack of interest shown to the new tech?
because noone really done it before, the initial setting requires a bigger surgery team and more research – it’s not something one can say let’s do it and we can do it. if it can be done easily, it would had been done (like you said) 2006.
the current techniques are good and has been recently improved again, i understand that there’s a interest but no one will want to be a paying test subject.
i read every petition to date and understand the intention behind it, i did wanted to proceed but it’s not possible at this time. this project needs to be picked up by a medical school or university.
Well it is really disappointing to hear it will not be continued. I personally find the current techniques not satisfying and not good enough, so I was really really excited when I had originally heard that this was in the works.
Thank you for your consideration.
hi [me], i heard about this technique from [name withheld] and took an interest in it. In actuality it can be done but because it’s still “new” to the GRS, the initial patients require a-lot more supervision then required this is where one or two people ‘volunteering’ can’t make things work.
Here is some more extensive information from one of my sources. They have:
* Worked in the 3D printing industry
* Started in organ-fabrication assembly-lines back in 1997 to 98
* Friends who are working in 3D printing which has now moved on to bio-printing
* Worked in the Radiology department for 6 to 7 years
Quoted directly from my source..
“…I worked in a Dept of Radiology for 6 or 7 years, which is heavily involved in orthopedic templating, surgical planning, organ transplants, and many other related areas. They’ve been doing bony-organ 3D printing for nearly 3 or 4 decades now, usually out of titanium and plastics, with the most well-known being the hip-replacement… …They’ve also been doing non-bony organs for 2 or 3 decades… the most well known being the pacemaker.
What’s new is that they’re using 3D printing to make custom sized organs using MRI and CT scans, rather than using small/medium/large organ templates. That, and they’re now using stem cells to replace the biocompatible plastics with actual living tissue. There are two basic ways of going about the printing…
a) direct 3D printing (mostly using modified ink jet printers nowdays) – they’re getting good milage out of arteries, skin, and capillary beds with that method
b) scaffolding – a growing trend is to use MRI and CT scans to create a virtual copy of the organ to grow, then inverting it, and printing the negative space, so as to create a scaffold for growing tissue. This is how they’re doing trachea and bladders.”
Some more words on 3D printing and its benefit:
“As for using 3D printing for vaginas, uteri, ovaries, and such… there are currently two uses… first, any type of dilation device or dildo that is 3D printed from acrylics is effectively working as a scaffold for the neovagina tissue. So, in some sense, every post-op transexual in the past 30 years who has used a plastic dilator is, in some sense, benefiting from this technology… …it’s not as revolutionary as the hype makes it sound. It’s incremental improvemnts on what’s already been done…”
Here are some words in regards to buccal cell vaginas and 3D printing itself, in more detail than I could ever give myself.
“…with regard to 3D printing of the living tissue itself, most of the relevant work to date has been with buccal cell neovaginas with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kutser-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome patients. Basically, they take a biospy from the inside of one’s cheek, and they then put that biopsy into a tissue incubator to grow a sheet of mucosal tissue, which is then wrapped around a scaffold (dilator). Typically, a tissue incubator is an oven-like contraption that runs at 98.6 degrees, and is filled with lots of petri dishes where tissues grow. Sort of the opposite of a refrigerator. The newer models are hybrids between tissue incubators and 3D printers. Everybody oohs-and-ahs over the ink-jet printer that’s converted to print sheets of skin and artieries, but that ink-jet cartridge has to be filled with living cells. That, in turn, requires an upstream tissue incubator (or blood/tissue bank, at the very least). In the case of buccal-cell neovaginas, it’s admittedly a bit more tissue-incubator than 3D printer, but the distinction is blurry since what’s only being developed is a 2D flat sheet of tissue.”
Awesome, right? Now how about that sacred creator of life that we all know as the uterus?
“As for uteri, a couple different teams have been successful in transplanting a uterus now. The next step will be to fabricate a synthetic uterus, which will begin by creating a scaffold of the negative space, and building up the tissue around the scaffold using a 3D printer and tissue incubator combo. A sort of meta-uterus, if you think about it….”
One concern that may come up is, trans people not exactly being a majority, why would anyone bother creating vaginas and the like with 3D printers when you’ve got like, people who need hearts and brains, instead of genitals for some ‘gender dysphoria’! Actually, we may be in luck because…
“…I’d expect the printable vaginas first. Of all the organs in the body, the reproductive ones are mostly non-essential for day-to-day life. A person can live fine without testes, penis, vagina, or breasts. But a person simply can’t live without a heart, lungs, or kidneys. Thus, it’s *way* easier to test new procedures on non-essential organs than on essential organs.
The reproductive organs have actually been somewhat of a testing ground for trying out new procedures. Remember: SRS procedures and uterus-transplant attempts were being done in the Weimar Republic back in the 1920s. Nearly three decades before the first heart transplant.”
Great news, right? We do not ‘need’ sexual organs in order to survive, at the very least they’re not necessary for us to continue to breathe and live, so it makes testing these out far less riskier.
Some might ask, well if this thing is for real, why haven’t I heard about it? Why hasn’t someone, say Christine McGinn, made any mention of buccal cells and the like! Here is what again, my awesome source had to say on this:
“These kinds of procedures aren’t advertised. They require active participation and involvement by the patient, and the patient needs to drive the procedure. And have ample savings, obviously. I’m not going to name names, but I’ve had one surgeon… …quote me the price, because I specifically asked about it, I knew what I was talking about, and I convinced them that I could (maybe) conceivably round up the resources to do it. I was as surprised to get a price quote on it as anybody else, trust me!”
As touched upon, there are things you can do to help things going, but one of the requirements are to not be lazy. Here is some helpful information:
“If you’re truly interested, research various surgeons’ training and backgrounds, as well as their track-records of innovations and patents. There’s maybe three surgeons in North America who have the temperament and experience to do a buccal-cell neovagina right now. It’s a state-of-the-art procedure, so look for educational backgrounds with that kind of narrative.”
Let’s touch upon the uniqueness of buccal cell surgery, its benefits, why there is no standard, and why these things take time to impliment:
“…what I’m saying is that state-of-the-art surgeries are nearly all customized and unique. Think there’s a standard procedure for separating conjoined twins? There’s not. Think there’s a standard procedure for doing a double arm transplant for an Afgan vet? There’s not. Think there’s a standard procedure for doing a bionic eye with neural interface for a blind person? There’s not…
…one has to sniff out the ones that might be capable and personally convince them to do it. However, if there’s enough demand, and it makes sense to scale the procedure up, applying six-sigma manufacturing techniques and the like, it may eventually become a common procedure. There’s certainly high enough volume with vaginoplasties, and few enough surgeons, that buccal-cell may become the default procedure in a few years time. But equipment has to be purchased, personnel have to be trained, and the like. And that can take a few years time… …It just takes time to train people, purchase equipment, get suppliers in place, get operating procedures all worked out, paperwork filed and submitted with the state, and all…
…Suffice it to say that US surgeons *are* aware of the buccal-cell procedure, doing research on how to do it in the states, where to get the supplies and equipment and so forth, and are cautiously having conversations with some patients who might be viable candidates.
…there’s a strong argument that buccal cell might be the in same category. Not for the self-lubricating properties. That’s icing on the cake. But because mucus act as an inter-cellular signaling secretion. Specifically it signals other cells *not* to begin the coagulation cascade between tissues and to begin the wound healing process. So, the neovagina doesn’t try to heal closed, dilation becomes much less onerous, one is back on their feet sooner, etc. That, and the neovaginal pH and microbial environment would support lactobacillus and be closer to natal microbial environments, which means less yeast infections and urinary tract infections down the road.
So, yeah, there are certainly risks involved. On the other hand, there are plenty of risks with the standard procedures. And if this new procedure mitigates those current risks, then it might be worth being a guinea pig….”
Now, provided you read all that, congratulations on becoming more well-informed.
Here are links to get more details on the topics discussed.
Anthony Atala: Printing a human kidney
Wanna try doing some searches on your own? Try these: