Traveling for Surgery with Dr. Mosser

Because it’s not possible for all folks in the transgender, non-binary and gender expansive community to find a local plastic surgeon, Dr. Mosser works with patients across the nation and around the world. If you’re an out-of-town patient considering surgery, we’d be happy to help you plan a stay to get your top surgery in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We want to ensure you have access to reasonably priced lodging while you’re in the Bay Area. In addition to affordable housing during your stay, it’s equally important to find trans and non-binary sensitive environments to ensure the most comfortable and healing recovery. We’ve worked with our Director of Community Engagement to find the best options for your stay.

Below, you will find sections that outline the ideal travel timeline, how to book flights and arrange transportation, information about low-cost lodging accommodations, a pre-travel checklist, and a bonus section on how to turn your Bay Area surgery visit into a vacation.

Traveling Timeline

Because most pre-operative steps can be completed virtually, you will only need to fly into San Francisco 1-2 days in advance of your procedure. MTF/N breast augmentation and FTM/N chest reconstruction are outpatient procedures, which means you will need to have appropriate accommodations in place that same day.

Though it’s unlikely that you will be able to stay in town for all of your follow-up visits, Dr. Mosser requires that all of his patients stay in town for at least 6 days after surgery so that he can effectively monitor your progress and address any side effects, complications, or concerns in person. So the total amount of time you are likely to spend in the Bay Area around the time of your surgery is 8-9 days.

Some airlines have special guidelines regarding patients who have recently undergone surgery. Dr. Mosser routinely provides a TSA letter so that you can get through security without any trouble with regard to arm position limitations.

Flying into the Bay Area for Surgery 

Booking Flights

When booking flights for surgery, search for flights on Southwest Airlines first if you have an airport nearby that they serve. They sometimes offer ‘getaway deals’, where flights are at a much lower rate than other commercial companies. Their flights won’t come up on Google search, so you’d need to visit their website independently to see what their rates are.

We also recommend the use of websites that compare the prices of different airlines. Examples of these websites include (but are not limited to) Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz.

Airports

When you’re looking for flights be sure to look at Oakland International Airport as well as San Francisco Airport. The prices for airplane tickets vary and sometimes you can get a better deal at one airport over the other.  The Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) train runs from both airports and can drop you off at designated BART stations. Wherever your lodging will be located (see “Lodging Accommodations” section below), ensuring that it’s near a BART station will cut down on your transportation costs while you’re in the area.

Transportation

Dr. Mosser’s office is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Montgomery BART station in Downtown San Francisco. Wherever you’re staying in the Bay Area, you can utilize the BART either to get to his office or St. Francis Hospital by getting off at the ‘Montgomery BART station’ in Downtown Union Square.  Prior to your arrival in the Bay Area, you’ll want to download a transportation app on your smartphone such as Lyft or Uber. You can utilize Lyft and Uber to get you to BART stations if you’re not staying within walking distance to one. It is recommended that folks take a Lyft or Uber with whoever is accompanying them after their surgery. This allows the caretaker to fully attend to the patient after surgery. Utilizing the BART and transportation apps will cut down your costs tremendously.

A note on Lyft and Uber: Lyft and Uber are “rideshare apps,” which means that drivers sign up with these companies and use their own cars to pick up passengers utilizing their services. For new users, the app will walk you through instructions for how to get set up and order a ride. To find the cheapest ride, it is recommended to download both apps, as they often have different prices for the same travel distance. Both apps also usually offer a promotion for new users. If you have never “ordered” a Lyft or Uber, search online for new user promotions to get the best deal while traveling for surgery.

Lodging Accommodations

We understand that surgery is a big expenditure both emotionally and financially. Below is an extensive list of affordable options to choose from. We realize all identities differ and so do your accommodation preferences. Due to the large queer, trans, and non-binary community in the Bay Area, there is a possibility that you will be able to find a place to stay in a shared community for free or discounted cost fairly close to Dr. Mosser’s offices. The closer your accommodations are to a BART station, the cheaper your trip will be. The longest acceptable travel time to and from Dr. Mosser’s offices is 45 minutes to one hour. Please refer to our “Transportation” section above to map out the cheapest and/or most convenient route from your lodging to our offices. 

Our Director of Community Engagement Charity helps with placing folks in the appropriate spaces based on their needs. The list below starts from ‘possibly free’ (meaning some folks may be able to host you without a charge) and moves up in price accordingly.

Community-Based Free/Low-Cost Options

Below are three Facebook groups you can use to find community-based accommodations. When using Facebook groups you will need to follow some simple steps. Your first step would be to request access to the group, which should be done about a few weeks before travel to ensure that you get accepted within enough time to make your accommodations. The second step would be to introduce yourself with your name, pronouns and need. Example: “My name is Kai, I use he/him pronouns and I’m having Top Surgery in San Francisco on January 4th. I’m looking for a place to stay from January 2nd (when I fly in) until January 12th. If anyone is able to help out please let me know. Thank You!” Make sure to check your post/request frequently and follow-up with any folks who might be open to hosting you. 

  • Bay Area Queer Exchange- The BAQE is a Facebook Group that you will need to request access to prior to being able to use it. This forum is an incredibly diverse community, with folks of all different intersections, gender identities, sexual orientation, abilities, etc. This group isn’t used specifically for housing, but a lot of people in need have been able to get assistance for a variety of things.
  • Trans and Intersex Housing: SF Bay AreaThis is a Facebook Group as well. It’s mostly used for trans and intersex folks to find permanent housing, but cross-posting is recommended  here in addition to BAQE 
  • QTPOC (Queer Trans Person of Color) Housing Bay Area CaliforniaIf you are a trans person of color this is a sanctioned safe space for folks who identify as such. The other 2 online groups mentioned before this are also very safe, but this is another alternative for you.

Low Cost

  • TransHeartline is a trans-led and operated post-op care/lodging facility. The space is small so look into this option first.
  • AirBnB: AirBnB can be a great option for you as they have shared housing options in addition to entire places. The cheapest options on AirBnB are for Oakland, not San Francisco. Oakland is just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and you can travel to and from San Francisco easily via the BART. We’re starting a project to find trans and non-binary folks who have their places listed on AirBnB. You can usually find shared spaces with a private room as low as $40, and higher ends of $70. For the cheaper ones be sure to look at the location as they may be far away and require more transportation costs.
  • USA Hostels: This hostel is very near Dr. Mosser’s office and the lowest rates start at around $34 a night. We can only recommend the location and price and haven’t had any feedback from anyone staying there.

Medium Cost, LGBTQ Friendly, all located within 3 Miles of Dr. Mosser’s office:

 Higher Cost, also within 1 block of Dr. Mosser’s office:

  • Grand Hyatt San Francisco– Rates start at about $300 per night and the Grand Hyatt is conveniently located just a few blocks away from Dr. Mosser’s office. To learn more, visit their website at hyatt.com
  • Grand Marriott Union Square– Also just a few blocks down the street from our office, the Grand Marriott offers rooms that start under $300 per night. Learn more about booking on their website.
  • Sir Francis Drake– Located within a block of Dr. Mosser’s office, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel offers all of our patients special booking rates. To find out more, you can contact our office or visit their website.

Staying outside San Francisco: 

Often, staying outside San Francisco might be cheaper than finding lodging with city limits. We recommend that patients traveling from out of town view the BART map to find an option that is close to a BART station to minimize spending on transportation. Again, anywhere within an hour journey away from our offices is a suitable option for lodging. 

Options for staying outside San Francisco include but are not limited to:

  • San Bruno (south of San Francisco, the city nearest to the San Francisco Airport)
  • Millbrae (south of San Francisco)
  • Oakland (in the east bay)
  • Berkeley (in the east bay)

A Pre-Check List for Out-of-Town Patients

To ensure a smooth process, there are few things you should do in advance of your procedure.

Ask questions – Dr. Mosser offers virtual consultations using a combination of phone calls or video conferencing and photographs. Before undertaking any additional planning, make sure that you feel comfortable with all of the details. Dr. Mosser is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your surgery.

Disclose all current medications – Certain prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements will hinder healing and should be discontinued prior to surgery. Dr. Mosser and his team will be able to determine which medications should be temporarily discontinued.

Complete all required preoperative evaluations and blood tests – Most patients do not need any lab tests before surgery. However, if you have medical conditions that warrant further evaluation, Dr. Mosser will be in touch about which tests need to be done. In most cases, you should be able to complete these labs from a distance in your home city. 

Book travel and accommodations – We have done our best to outline the best ways to book travel and accommodations for patients coming from outside the Bay Area for surgery. If you have further questions, see our contact information below.

Let’s Make A Vacation Out of It!

Our office is close to popular destinations if you’re traveling to San Francisco and would like to make a vacation out of this experience! Please see below for a list of popular destinations to check out while you’re here and how far they are away from our office.  However, remember that after surgery you cannot walk faster than a slow stroll, and you can’t exert yourself with stair or hill climbing for 3 weeks after surgery:

  • Golden Gate Bridge: 6 miles
  • The Painted Ladies: 2 miles
  • Alcatraz Island: 1.5 miles
  • Union Square: Our office is IN Union Square
  • Chinatown: .5 miles
  • Palace of Fine Arts: 3 miles
  • The Castro: 4 miles

Contact Our Office for Additional Travel Details

A lot of planning and preparation go into surgical procedures. If you have additional questions, or if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the necessary planning details, our staff would be happy to assist you. Please feel free to contact our office at (415)780-1515.