Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of surgical procedures designed to alter masculine facial features to make them more feminine. FFS is often pursued by transgender women and non-binary individuals as part of their transition, but it’s also available to cisgender women seeking more traditionally feminine facial features.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common procedures involved in facial feminization surgery:
- Forehead Contouring/Brow Bossing: This involves reshaping the frontal bone to reduce any prominence and give the forehead a smoother, more feminine appearance. This procedure often includes advancing the hairline and lifting the brows.
- Hairline Lowering/Scalp Advancements: This can bring the hairline forward, reducing the size of the forehead. Hair transplants may also be used to adjust the hairline.
- Brow Lift: Elevates the position of the eyebrows to a more traditionally feminine position, which is typically above the bony orbital rim.
- Rhinoplasty: Feminizes and refines the nose. This may include narrowing the nose, refining the tip, and decreasing the size of the nostrils.
- Cheek Augmentation: This can be done using implants or fat grafting to give the face a fuller, more youthful appearance.
- Lip Lift and Augmentation: Elevates the position of the upper lip and can increase its fullness, reducing the distance between the nose and upper lip.
- Chin Recontouring: Reduces the size and projection of the chin, making it more rounded and feminine.
- Jaw Contouring: This procedure involves shaving down the mandible’s angles to give a softer, more oval or heart-shaped face.
- Tracheal Shave (Adam’s Apple Reduction): Reduces the size of the laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple).
- Earlobe Reduction: Some individuals opt to reduce the size of elongated earlobes.
- Voice Surgery: While not strictly a facial procedure, some individuals opt for surgery to alter the vocal cords and raise voice pitch. However, this procedure carries risks, and many opt for voice training as a safer first approach.
- Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty): Adjusts the upper or lower eyelids to create a more open-eyed and refreshed look.
FFS can have a profound impact on one’s appearance and can be an essential component of the transition for many transgender women. It’s essential to have a comprehensive consultation with an experienced surgeon specializing in FFS to discuss goals, potential outcomes, and risks.
Recovery from FFS varies based on the procedures done. Some procedures have minimal downtime, while others, like forehead contouring or jaw surgery, might require more extended recovery periods. Common side effects include swelling, bruising, numbness, and scarring, but these often diminish with time.