Luca Salerno was scheduling consultations for gender-affirming top surgery in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Once hospitals started reopening, I learned that the surgeons I was considering now had years-long waiting lists,” he says.

A new search led the 38-year-old dad and scientist to Brodie Parent, MD, a reconstructive plastic surgeon at UPMC Passavant.

“I was impressed by Dr. Parent’s good, kind bedside manner,” Luca says. “He also shared information about the top-notch surgeons he trained under and did surgery with during his fellowship.”

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Gender-Affirming Top Surgery

Luca, a former UPMC employee, had surgery to achieve a chest that better aligned with his identity as a transgender male.

“There are many reasons people need or want this surgery,” Luca says. “People use visual cues to form an assessment of you, and my cues presented conflicting messages. It all boiled down to being better able to live as my gender in a body that is more comfortable for me.”

Dr. Parent says he was first introduced to gender-affirmation surgery during his fellowship, and he’s glad it’s now part of his practice.

“I had the opportunity to work with and get to know a number of transgender individuals,” he says. “I recognized the great need for this care, and I found that I really enjoyed working with transgender patients.”

He also finds it satisfying as a surgeon.

“Many of the patients I consult with were ready to have this surgery 10 years ago,” Dr. Parent says. “When it’s over, there’s almost a sigh of relief — like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.”

Better Aligned with His Identity

For Luca, life after surgery has been a lot easier to navigate.

“It’s been really good,” he says. “The outcome is exactly what I had hoped for somebody of my age and body type.”

He wants people to know that gender transitioning and affirmation surgery isn’t about standing out or being treated differently.

“In fact, it’s just the opposite,” Luca says. “We’re normal people who want to live a normal life. This surgery lets us be treated as any person wants to be treated — in accordance with our identity.”

Inclusive Care at UPMC

UPMC is committed to equity and inclusion for all patients. The providers, hospital employees, and leaders at UPMC Passavant continually collaborate to ensure they provide high-quality, gender-inclusive care for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

On his first day at UPMC Passavant, Dr. Parent saw the rainbow flag flying outdoors.

“I thought, ‘Ah — I’m at the right place!'” he says.

He praises UPMC Passavant’s senior administration for their top-level support.

“Having support at all levels is very important,” Dr. Parent says. “Like me, the more exposure my staff has to individual LGBTQIA+ patients, the more they realize that these are folks just trying to live a life where they don’t get stared at. I know I can firmly plant this practice here and be confident that my patients will get good care and not be discriminated against for the surgery they’re getting.”

Gender-Affirming Care, Closer to Home

Dr. Parent offers facial feminization surgery at UPMC Passavant–McCandless and outpatient top surgery at UPMC Passavant–Cranberry for transgender and gender diverse patients, with follow-up care at UPMC Passavant–McCandless, among other locations.

To schedule an appointment, call 412-367-8998.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.