World News

New Zealand Girl Performs Self-Inflicted Surgery After Following YouTube Tutorial

Rachael Wong, CEO of Women’s Forum Australia, stated that the incident was being used to advocate for increased access to gender-reassignment surgery in New Zealand.

A New Zealand teenage girl who was suffering from gender dysphoria resorted to self-mutilation after following a tutorial video on YouTube.

The incident was documented in an article published on May 17 in the New Zealand Medical Journal. This article was used as a case study to support the push for increased availability of publicly funded gender transition surgeries.

According to the report, an 18-year-old girl with gender dysphoria attempted to perform a mastectomy on herself at home after watching a how-to video on YouTube. She prepared the required equipment and marked the incision points.

The teenager was already on testosterone therapy and was on the waiting list for gender transition surgery at that time.

This self-mutilation attempt resulted in bodily injuries and the risk of damaging a nerve. A graphic photo in the report (pdf) displayed the girl’s breasts bleeding and severely injured.

After seeking medical help several hours later, health professionals performed a complete breast removal surgery on her.

The report highlighted that the surgery was done after discussions about the potential risks, such as irreversible damage, poor cosmetic outcomes, and the loss of both nipples.

It also characterized the incident as an act of desperation resulting from long wait times for referral in the public healthcare system, inability to afford private consultations, and the significant psychological stress of facing an upcoming pool party with breasts.

The report stated that the surgery was successful, and the girl was discharged home after one day.

At a follow-up appointment four weeks post-surgery, her bilateral mastectomy scars had healed well, and she reported feeling more confident, improved self-esteem, and better performance in academic work. She was looking forward to enrolling at university.

Self-Attempted Mastectomy Or Self Mutilation?

The report described the incident as a self-attempted gender-affirming mastectomy, emphasizing the need for the government to make gender surgery services more accessible.

In New Zealand, limited availability of gender-affirming surgery due to resource constraints has become a growing concern. Currently, there is only one surgeon in the country performing gender-affirmation operations.

Local media in New Zealand has also adopted a similar narrative in reporting on this issue.

However, Rachael Wong, CEO of Women’s Forum Australia, a women’s rights think tank, argued that this perspective distorted the reality of the situation.

“This narrative is being employed to advocate for expanded access to ‘gender-affirming care’ in New Zealand,” Mr. Wong commented in a post on LinkedIn.

“It should prompt urgent action against a dangerous ideology that disproportionately harms teenage girls,” he added.

The authors of the article were three health professionals from the Wellington Regional Hospital: general surgeon Scott Diamond, general surgery trainee Sue Hui Ong, and non-trainee surgical registrar Mairarangi Haimona.

Risks Of Mental Illnesses

Historically, individuals who self-amputated their breasts typically had active psychiatric disorders and experienced acute triggers that led to self-mutilation, the article pointed out.

However, the 18-year-old girl was an exception as she did not have a psychiatric disorder, unlike previous cases of self-mutilation.

Research has shown that children with gender dysphoria often face various underlying mental health issues, including self-harm, suicidal thoughts, mood and anxiety disorders, depression, trauma, eating disorders, and autism spectrum conditions.

Self-harm is prevalent among young individuals, with girls consistently exhibiting higher rates than boys, as per a 2024 article in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

A study from the Australian Journal of Psychology in 2020 emphasized the importance of considering psychiatric comorbidities when prioritizing treatments for children with gender dysphoria.

In 2019, the New Zealand government allocated $3 million over four years to the Gender Affirming (Genital) Surgery Service for up to 14 gender-transition surgeries annually.

Referrals to this service have significantly increased in recent years, with the number escalating by over fourfold from late 2018 to early 2019.

Pharmac, a New Zealand government health institution, reported that the number of children and adolescents on puberty blockers nearly doubled within a decade.

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available:

New Zealand

  • Lifeline 0800 543 354
  • Youthline 0800 376 633
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865


  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

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