Our face is a prominent part of our identity and for many transgender women, having a more feminine facial appearance is important to achieve greater facial harmony and feel better about their gender identity. In this article, we will explore face feminisation surgery (FFS) in trans women. We will also review the most common facial feminisation operations and treatments.
What is face feminisation surgery?
Facial feminisation is a set of surgical procedures and aesthetic medicine treatments that aim to achieve a face with softer features, which is associated with a more feminine appearance. These procedures can vary according to each person’s individual needs and wishes and are usually performed in stages in order to achieve a natural and harmonious result. There are various procedures for face feminisation surgery and we will therefore discuss those that are most requested.
The Adam’s apple is a typically male feature that may be prominent in some transgender women. Thyroplasty is a surgery that involves the removal or reduction of cartilage in the area, which can help give the neck and throat a smoother appearance.
Forehead feminisation surgery
The male forehead tends to be more prominent and angular, while the female forehead is generally softer and rounder. Forehead feminisation surgery can involve reducing the prominence of the supraorbital ridges and elevating the eyebrows to create a softer and more feminine appearance. Hairline advancement may also be necessary to achieve a more feminine looking forehead. The height of the forehead and the shape of the hairline are also determining factors in the feminisation of a face.
Chin and jaw reduction
The male jaw and chin are usually larger and squarer than those of females. Reduction of the chin and jawline involves reshaping or removing bone to soften the appearance of the jawline. This surgery gives the face a more oval and rounded appearance, a shape that is associated with a more feminine appearance.
Nose feminisation surgery
The nose is a very important feature of our face; being in the center and being prominent, it gives personality to the face. Face feminisation surgery may therefore involve reshaping the nose to give it a more feminine appearance, with a smaller, rounder tip and a softer nasal dorsum.
Losing volume and elasticity in the face is a natural ageing process that can affect men and women alike. However, the feminising facelift and various facial rejuvenation techniques can also be part of face feminisation surgery in transgender women. This may include the use of dermal fillers or autologous fat to restore volume to areas such as the cheekbones, cheeks and lips, which can help create a more youthful and feminine facial appearance. Facelift techniques can also be used to reshape and soften facial features.
Feminising eyelid surgery
Some transgender women may opt for feminising blepharoplasty to correct the appearance of their eyes. Although this technique is usually associated with eye rejuvenation surgery, it can also be used to redefine the eye area and soften facial expression and features, especially when combined with other surgeries such as a facelift, cheek augmentation or rhinoplasty.
Lip lift feminisation surgery
This is performed for a trans woman when there is a significant distance between the nose and upper lip, a feature that makes the face look more masculine. Shortening this by means of lip lift surgery is an important point to be considered in facial feminisation surgery.
Aesthetic medicine for face feminisation
Advances in aesthetic medicine also make it possible to perform certain treatments to feminise facial features, for example, lip augmentation and contouring or facial volume distribution. Both techniques are usually performed using hyaluronic acid. But there are other treatments to improve skin texture (with medical peeling, laser, IPL or aesthetic treatments), eyebrow lifting or improving facial volumes that can be carried out without the need for surgery. However, it is important to use specialist aesthetic doctors to achieve the best results.
Personalised technique in face feminisation surgery
It is important to take into account that face feminisation surgery is a highly personal process and that specific procedures may vary according to the individual needs and wishes of each transgender person. It is essential to work with a team of FFS surgeons who specialise in gender-affirming surgery and have experience in facial feminisation in transgender women to ensure the best possible results. At IM GENDER you have a highly qualified team with more than 20 years of experience.
Listen to Katy Thompson talking about her face feminisation surgery in this video.
The benefits of face feminisation surgery
The benefits of face feminisation surgery are both physical and emotional. Many transgender women find that this plastic surgery helps them to feel more comfortable with their appearance, improve their self-confidence and, therefore, have a better quality of life.
A recent IM GENDER study published in 2021 concluded that transgender persons who undergo face feminisation are those who, for various reasons, started their transition later. While transgender women who had started their transition at a younger age required more aesthetic medicine than facial feminisation surgery.
Face feminisation surgery can have physical and emotional benefits but it can also carry risks when not performed by a specialised, professional and experienced team. It is therefore essential to work with a team of plastic surgeons who specialise in gender-affirming surgery and to follow their care and recovery instructions for the best possible results.