Skull comparison lateral. Image credit: Chris Gralapp
There are fundamental structural and aesthetic differences between the facial skeleton in females and males. Typically, men’s faces are taller, more angular or “chiselled” with higher foreheads and hairlines. Women’s faces tend to be rounder overall, shorter in height, with higher cheekbones, and less angular around the chin and jaw area — amongst many other subtle, and not-so subtle differences.
Facial gender confirmation surgery is sought out by adults (above the age of 18) who are, either:
- Female-to-male (FTM) trans individuals – AKA facial feminization surgery (FFS)
- Male-to-female (MTF) trans individuals – AKA facial masculinization surgery (FMS)
- Cis-gendered individuals who seek to appear more like their assigned gender at birth. For example, women with masculine faces who seek a more feminine appearance, or, men with “weak” chins who seek a more angular or “chiseled” chin and jawline.
Trans individuals often feel “out of sync” because how they appear to the world is not how they feel on the inside. This creates a kind of relative dissonance in their daily lives in relationships, their work and careers, how they feel about their own bodies and feeling of self-worth and inner wellbeing. Essentially, facial gender confirmation surgery aims to align the person “inside” with who we are on the “outside”.
When an individual is seeking to undertake facial gender confirmation there are several categories of procedures that may be recommended depending on existing facial structures and aesthetic goals. These procedures fall under the categories of either:
- Plastic surgery (soft tissues)
- Craniofacial surgery (the underlying facial skeleton)
- Jaw surgery (orthognathic)
Typically, facial gender confirmation surgery is performed under general anaesthetic as a long-format surgical operative session during which several procedures are performed either simultaneously or sequentially.