Jazz Jennings, the star of I Am Jazz, is currently sharing her gender confirmation surgery experience as Season 5 of her hit reality show unravels. Ahead of the season airing, Jazz had openly spoken about the surgery complications she was faced with, sharing her transition with the public. Last week viewers watched as Jennings finally underwent the surgery she’s been waiting for her entire life, but as the family was warned, complications could—and did—arise.
After her initial surgery, Jennings seemed to be recovering normally until an emergency complication arose that worried her doctors.
“I was a little surprised,” said Dr. Jess Ting, Jennings’ doctor, in last week’s episode. “Jazz is young and healthy and normally patients like that heal really quickly. Instead, it just looked like the sutures were starting to spread. The colors of the skin right along the edge of the wound, you want it to be nice and pink but it was looking dusky, kind of blueish, which could be a sign of too much tension or there not being enough blood supply. I was kind of worried at that point.”
Since her wound rapidly worsened in the course of just one day, the doctor suggested Jennings return to the operating room so they could examine what was happening and prevent any damage from occurring. He explained that as the incision opens, it can pull the entire vagina out and she could lose her newly constructed vaginal cavity. The episode ended with Jennings being rolled back into the O.R. and those three ghastly words every TV fan fears: “To Be Continued.”
The result of her emergency second procedure will be revealed in tonight’s episode which airs tonight at 9/8c on TLC.
But spoiler alert: what we’ll see in tonight’s episode was filmed months ago. Jennings is recovered and doing well.
“There was just an unfortunate event and setback where things did come apart and there was a complication,” Jazz told ABC News. “I had to come back in for another procedure, but it was just all part of the journey.”
Jennings said that she had to lose 30 pounds before the procedure and that she had a hard time finding surgeons who were willing to perform the gender confirmation surgery because she was “such a difficult case.” The “difficulty” stemmed from the hormone blockers and hormone therapy she started when she was just 11 years old.
Dr. Marci Bowers explained the case in an episode that aired earlier this season. “Jazz as a medical case is really a conundrum because her puberty was blocked so well that she didn’t get growth of her genitals in a way that allows us surgeons to use a conventional approach,” she explained. “And so we have to be very creative to find new ways of getting tissue to line these areas of the body that we create.”
Jennings and her family found surgeons who were able to use a new technique to work around the issue. “They’re using the tissue I have, the peritoneum, and also, they may take a skin graft as well.” She joked, “I say it’s going to be like a patchwork vagina, Franken-vagina. So yeah, as long as it’s functional, that’s all that matters,” she said.