Most of you who follow this blog will not recognize the name Dr. Heidi Wittenberg. You can read about her career here. Additionally, she has been performing hystorectomies for Brownstein and Crane Surgical Services for about two years. Over the last year Dr. Wittenberg began training to perform metoidioplasties (metas). She has performed 10 metas under Dr. Crane and Dr. Chen’s supervision. Since then she has performed seven metas on her own.
Dr. Wittenberg has trained in the techniques of Dr. Crane and Dr. Chen, which include their unique techniques of the v-y scrotoplasty and the phallus lift.
I had my phone consult with Dr. Wittenberg on August 9th, 2017. Here is a bulleted list of specific things I asked her about regarding my own wants and needs out of this surgery:
- Out of the seven metas she has performed on her own, two surgeries had fistula complications which resolved on their own.
- When asked about standing to pee through my fly given my length, she gave me a 75% chance. This is 15% higher than what I have heard quoted by other surgeons, but again, I asked about my specific length.
- She confirmed that she does perform the v-y scrotoplasty and the phallus lift that the practice is known for.
- Dr. Wittenberg stated that she does not intend on performing phalloplasties at this time, instead focusing on metas.
- Unfortunately Dr. Wittenberg does not have any photographs of her results to show yet. Showing surgery results is a very personal decision and I do not blame any of her patients for that.
Dr. Wittenberg was extremely thorough when asking about my medical history, past surgeries, and if I had aftercare support lined up. She looked at my photos before the call. Her bedside manner over the phone was warm and pleasant and she did not make me feel like a number. She acknowledged the practice’s long wait list and her commitment and enthusiasm about being able to serve the community and provide these services.
I was very clear with Dr. Wittenberg that I have a phone consult with Dr. Safir next week and that I would not be making a decision about who to book my surgery with until I spoke with him. She was very understanding saying, “Of course. You have to make the decision that’s right for your body and go with who you feel most comfortable with.” As we were completing the call, she said that she hopes she gets to meet me.
Folks, I don’t know who I will choose yet, but I will tell you that my consult with Dr. Wittenberg was night and day different from Dr. Crane. I say that not to disparage Dr. Crane, but to point out that not everyone makes the same connection or feels the same level of comfortability with every surgeon.
Always explore your options. Always try and recognize the journey for what it is, even when the road is long and you are tired.
Based on the conversation I had with Dr. Wittenberg, I feel that she is a fine surgeon, dedicated to her work and her patients. If someone else were to choose her, I think they’d be making a good choice based on my conversation with her. Of course, no one knows how things will work out until you’re there, but she certainly made me feel confident in her abilities.