The goal of facial feminization surgery is to transform the masculine features of the face to a more feminine appearance.

Who is a good candidate for facial feminization surgery?

Facial feminization surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
Facial feminization surgery is a good option for you if:
You have been diagnosed with persistent gender dysphoria
You have been living as a member of your desired sex
You are of the age to make consent
You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations
If significant medical or mental health concerns exist, they must be reasonably well-controlled

What should I expect during a consultation for facial feminization surgery?

During your facial feminization surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:
Your transition process
Your surgical goals
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Previous surgeries
Your surgeon will also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Examine your face and take measurements of the size and shape of the facial structures and evaluate the skin quality
Take photographs
Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of facial feminization surgery and any risks or potential complications
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon questions. It’s very important to understand all aspects of your facial feminization surgery. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your plastic surgeon that you can take with you to your consultation.

It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

What are the risks of facial feminization surgery?

The decision to have facial feminization surgery is extremely personal. You’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Many individuals view this procedure as a necessary step toward alleviating their gender dysphoria.

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedures you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.

The possible risks of facial feminization surgery include, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, poor healing of incisions, hematoma, failure of the bone to heal, prolonged swelling, implant migration, hair loss along the incision line and anesthesia risks.

What are the steps of facial feminization surgery?

Facial feminization surgery includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Surgical procedure
There are many procedures that can be performed to give the face a more feminine appearance. The requirements of each person will vary to obtain optimal results. Not every person will require full facial feminization. The procedures that are commonly employed to feminize the face include forehead contouring, hairline advancement, cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty, lip augmentation, jaw reduction, chin surgery, and Adam’s apple reduction.

What should I expect during my recovery after facial feminization surgery?

Following your facial feminization surgery, gauze or bandages may be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or support garment will minimize swelling for extensive facial work. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid in instances where extensive skin work is performed. You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
Will there be drains? For how long?
When can I bathe or shower?
When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
When do I return for follow-up care?
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases and the facial shape improves. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

What results should I expect after facial feminization surgery?

The final results of facial feminization surgery can help alleviate the feelings of gender dysphoria that some individuals may experience.

Over time, scar lines along the hairline will improve, although they’ll never disappear completely. There are trade-offs, but most transwomen feel these are small compared to the large improvement in their quality of life and the ability to look and feel like a woman.

Although facial feminization surgery can be completed in one surgery, sometimes multiple surgeries are required for extensive feminization. The goals and requirements of each person will vary, as will the surgical outcomes.

When you go home, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heartbeats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. 

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