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Using a variety of cosmetic procedures, facial feminisation surgery (FFS) can help transgender men appear more female.

Why you might need it

Male to female transgender patients often want their faces to appear more feminine. Facial feminisation surgery can give them the confidence to live life fully as a woman.

Men and women’s facial features have very distinct characteristics. Men’s faces are generally much larger than women’s. Their foreheads also grow forwards, their faces are longer and their bones heavier. In particular, their nose and lower face including the jaw are more dominant in the face. These features, along with with facial hair, coarse skin and a higher hairline are the gender cues which subconsciously help us to identify a male from a female.

FFS uses a variety of different cosmetic surgeries to alter the normal male facial features and enhance their feminine appearance. These include:

  • forehead / brow recontouring
  • brow lift
  • rhinoplasty (nose job)
  • cheek implants
  • lip lift
  • lip filling
  • chin recontouring
  • jaw recontouring
  • orthognathic surgery
  • Adam’s apple reduction / tracheal shave
  • associated procedures such as face lifts and eyelid surgery.

Facial feminisation surgery is not an exact science and the best results for you will depend on your particular facial features. But the end result can help restore your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem to help you live your life to the fullest.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see and when you want. They’ll be with you every step of the way: from giving advice at your first consultation, through to offering on-going support after your surgery.

All of our cosmetic surgeons are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well equipped hospitals.  A cosmetic surgeon’s reputation, qualifications and experience are vitally important, so we only work with consultant grade specialists. These are highly experienced consultants who have completed years of medical training. All our consultants are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC), and many are also members of the UK’s leading cosmetic and plastic surgery associations.

 

 

Before your treatment

Cosmetic surgery can be a life enhancing decision and we’re here to help you make the right one. Our experienced cosmetic surgeons will guide you through every step of the way.

It’s important to meet with your chosen consultant before treatment so that you are completely comfortable with them and they know what you want to achieve. FFS cosmetic surgeons should have a wide repertoire of skills and expertise to help you achieve your goals.

It’s also important that patients deciding to have facial feminisation have realistic expectations. Most FFS patients undergo hormone therapy for some time prior to surgery, which will help to soften certain features and alter the skin’s appearance over a period of time.

Many patients will also have the support of a psychiatrist or counsellor during their transition.

It’s helpful to bring in some pictures and a friend or family member to your initial meeting to help articulate your thoughts. You should also ask to see some of the surgeon's recent before and after pictures of similar operations they've performed.

This is an important decision and we're here to listen.

If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, we'll give you at least two weeks between consultation and operation date. This is because we want you to be really happy and confident with your decision.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that undergoing surgery might cause you anxiety and worry, even relatively commonly performed procedures like rhinoplasty. Our experienced and caring clinical staff will be there with you every step of the way. As well as delivering excellent care and treatment, they’ll answer your questions and provide reassurance if you’re worried at any stage.

You’ll be given a general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep while the surgeon and clinical team perform the surgery. Depending on the type of procedures you have and its complexity, facial feminisation surgery normally takes four to six hours.

There are many different techniques that can be used in FFS to help achieve your desired result. Your surgeon will explain the best options available to you depending on your circumstances.

The information below is an outline of the most common procedures, but it’s not comprehensive. Please don’t hesitate to ask for further information.

  • Forehead / brow recontouring. Smooths and flattens the bone running across the forehead just above eyebrow level called the brow ridge or “brow bossing”.
  • Brow lift. Females tend to have higher eyebrows than males so a brow lift is often used to place the eyebrows in a more feminine position. This can usually be done at the same time as a brow recontour.
  • Rhinoplasty (nose job). Male noses tend to be larger, wider and point downwards. Standard rhinoplasty procedures are used to feminise a masculine nose.
  • Cheek implants. Females often have more forward projection in their cheekbones as well as fuller cheeks overall. Sometimes cheek implants are used to feminise cheeks.
  • Lip lift. The distance between the opening of the mouth and the base of the nose tends to be longer in males than in females. A lip lift shortens the area between the nose to appear more feminine.
  • Lip filling. Females often have fuller lips than males, so lip filling is often used in feminisation.
  • Chin recontouring. Men tend to have taller, square chins with a flat base and two corners. The chin is reduced in height and rounded to appear more feminine.
  • Jaw recontouring. Male jaws tend to be wide and tall often have a sharp corner at the back. The back corner can be rounded and bone can also be shaved off along the lower edge of the jaw to reduce the prominence of the lower jaw.
  • Orthognathic surgery. The lower face is longer and more prominent in the male and some patients may benefit from this specialised technique to reduce the size of the lower face.
  • Adam’s apple reduction / tracheal shave. Men have a much more prominent Adam's apple than women. The Adam's apple can be reduced with a “tracheal shave” or “thyroid chondroplasty”.
  • Associated procedures. Many FFS patients have additional beautification and rejuvenation procedures such as blepharoplasty, which helps correct eye bags and sagging eyelids. Many also have a face and neck lift.

Aftercare

FFS typically requires between one to four nights stay with us, depending on the number of procedures you have.

After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.


Pain relief

Depending on the procedures you have, you may experience some pain, swelling and bruising. We will give you medication while you’re with us and to take home to help ease any pain.

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

Everybody heals at different rates, but it will be at least a few weeks before you’ll be able to return to work and normal activities. While you’re recovering, it’s important to have support from relatives, friends your GP and access to advice from the consultant surgeon or their staff.


End results

Most FFS patients tell us they are very pleased with the results of their surgery and that they can live their lives fully in the female role as they had hoped.

We have found that those who view having FF surgery as one of the steps towards this goal and not as the complete answer to all the challenges they face with their transition are usually the most satisfied.


Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. Typically your consultant will want to see you one to two weeks after your FFS procedures and then a further four to eight weeks later to see how you are doing.

On rare occasions, complications following an FFS procedure can occur. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having your procedures and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

You can trust Spire Regency Hospital, Macclesfield to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.