Our faces say a lot about us. How we look often impacts how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others. More than just having blue or brown eyes or a kind smile, our facial features are closely tied to the characteristics specific to our gender. There are universally and culturally accepted norms in what makes a face ”feminine” or ”masculine.” However, what if how you look doesn’t fit society’s so-called “norms?” Thankfully, we live in a modern world where we have the ability to change our outward appearance to match how we feel inside. In this POPSUGAR article, we learn more about one of these powerful transformation tools – the facial feminization surgery. 

Facial feminization surgery usually involves several surgical and non-surgical procedures “…..that modify the shape and contours of the face and also change the balance of different facial features,” says Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and NYC facelift expert. These surgeries are meant to give a patient’s face more traditionally feminine physical characteristics. Some of those desirable characteristics may include a heart-shaped face, fuller cheeks and arched eyebrows.

For transgender women, facial feminization can be especially life-changing. Looking more “feminine” on the outside can allow transgender people to feel more comfortable about their inner “femininity”. Facial feminization can be the helpful for any individual who feels their face is too “masculine-looking.” As Dr. Konstantin points out, men typically have higher and more prominent foreheads. The eyebrows are lower and less arched, and cheeks tend to be flatter and more angular looking. Men’s noses are usually wider and the shape of the lower face is heavier and more square. By altering these particular ”masculine” facial characteristics, the face can appear softer and more “feminine.” 

Facial feminization surgery is very customizable. Consulting with your plastic surgeon about the result you’re looking for, your expectations and surgery details is very important. Your doctor can help explain that the procedures are usually performed in several stages. “Changing the contour of the bone, such as chin reduction or shaving off prominent forehead ridges, is usually done first,” says Dr. Konstantin. “Lifting of the soft tissue such as a brow-lift, mid-face-lift, and a face-lift (when necessary) would be the next stage.” The final touch usually involves adding volume and changing the contour of the face with injectables like BOTOX® or fillers.

As with any other plastic surgery, the cost of facial feminization can be considerable (and often not covered by insurance). Depending on your location, the expertise of the surgeon and the types of procedures required to achieve the desired look, the cost of facial feminization can range from $20,000 to $50,000 and up. There are also risks involved with this type of surgery. These risks can be minimized by following your doctor’s post-op instructions. Depending on which procedures are being done, recovery time can vary from person to person. However, for most patients the initial post-operative recovery is one to three weeks, “…..with the complete healing often requiring six months to a year,” says Dr. Konstantin.

You can read the full article in POPSUGAR. Facial feminization surgery can be a truly tranformative experience. More than just making a face look more ‘feminine”, this type of surgery can also help people feel more comfortable in their skin. Consulting with a qualified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in facial feminization can make this experience much easier to navigate.

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