Dr. Annette Cholon and Dr. Peter K. Davis

Dr.Annette Cholon practices plastic surgery including SRS in Menlo Park, California. She did my procedure and I am very happy with the results. Not many people in the gender community have heard of Dr. Cholon because she has just started building this part of her practice. Dr. Cholon assisted Dr. Laub's SRS's for the last 5 years, and now she is doing the primary work herself. I think I was her twelvth patient. She does a penile inversion, using a skin graft from the stomach or thigh for the extension of the vaginal cavity. The scrotal skin is used for labia only. It is a one-step procedure (although I've heard she does a two-step now); I have my labia majora and minora complete at this point.

Dr. Cholon is a delightful young blonde woman, rather reminding me of the actress Tea Leoni. Her bedside manner is confident but not arrogant. It may be silly of me, but I like the idea of having my procedure performed by a woman, and I am especially comfortable with her in my follow-up visits.

Unfortunately, as of 2006, Dr. Cholon has retired from her practice to spend more time raising her kids. Her collegue, Dr. Peter Davis, who assisted Dr. Cholon at my SRS, continues her SRS practice in Menlo Park.

Dr. Davis invites new patients to contact him directly, or work through Judy Van Maasdam of the Gender Dysphoria Program, Inc. (Judy is a therapist who specializes in gender treatment.) Dr. Davis also invites you to call him with any questions you might have about SRS, FFS, or anything else.

Here is contact information for Dr. Davis and for Judy Van Maasdam:

Peter K. Davis, M.D.
Physician & Surgeon
Cosmetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery
1515 El Camino Real, Suite D
Palo Alto, CA 94306-3260
(650) 326-6800
e-mail: pkdavismd@aol.com

Judy Van Maasdam
Gender Dysphoria Program, Inc.
1515 El Camino Real, Suite E
Palo Alto, CA 94306-3260
(650) 326-4645
e-mail: Judyvm@aol.com

Judy and Dr. Davis have put together a package that keeps costs under control. I had my actual surgery in a modest OR called the Plastic Surgery Center of Palo Alto, in the small medical building where Judy has her office. Then I spent 4 nights at the Surgical Hospital of Menlo Park, which is more of a recovery inn than a hospital. My total bills were about $15,000. Since I live in San Jose, this was very convenient for me.

Several people have asked me about my personal reasons for selecting Dr. Cholon, so I will tell you. I did NOT select her because I thought she had the best skills and technique of any of the available surgeons. My feeling was that all of the top surgeons in the field are doing good work and getting great results. I did not feel that I had the expertise to judge between them on a technical basis, no matter how much research I did. I do feel that Dr. Cholon is one of the top surgeons, and I relied a lot on Judy van Maasdam's recommendation as she has a lot of experience and expertise working with many surgeons over many years.

I placed a high value on having a surgeon that was local to my home. I dislike travelling even in the best of circumstances, especially to places where I don't speak the language. There is plenty to organize prior to SRS, without the additional hassles of arranging an overseas trip. Getting back into my own bed as quickly as possible meant a lot to me.

Having Dr. Cholon in my area meant that she would handle all of my follow-up care, and I liked that idea a lot--and the doctor likes following up on her own work, too. As a bonus, all my follow-up visits are free!--well, included in the package cost, let us say. But it is still nice not to have to dig into my pocketbook each time I go in for a check-up.

I felt good about having my procedure in the good old U.S. of A. because I have faith in our health care system--the technology, not the financial end, which is a mess. And I was able to bank my own blood in advance of surgery, which set my mind at ease about the quality of the blood should I need a transfusion. (Dr. Cholon did wind up putting my blood back in me, although she said it wasn't absolutely necessary.)

Another thing that was very appealing to me was that Dr. Cholon did not (and does not currently) have a waiting list. Once I decided I was ready to go, I did NOT want to face a one or two year wait.

Finally, I really like the idea of working with a female surgeon. I can't justify it rationally, but there's something about having a doctor who knows first-hand about vaginas that seems like a good thing. I think I feel a bit more comfortable in my check-ups than if I had a male physician, for the same reason that many women feel more comfortable with a female gynecologist.

So those were my reasons. I have the highest recommendation for Dr. Cholon based on my results, her skill and techniques as far as I can judge, and her very pleasant bedside manner. However, if I was on a more restricted budget, or if Dr. Cholon hadn't been available, I would have had no reservations about going to some of the other fine surgeons working in this field. Dr. Suporn probably would have been my second choice.

Lannie Rose