Many trans men, non-binary and gender diverse individuals want to make their physical appearance reflect their true identity. For many, a primary consideration is the appearance of their face. Changes to facial features can be achieved through non-surgical and surgical procedures. These procedures can enhance masculine appearance or minimize feminine facial features. If you are transitioning your gender identity or considering options to enhance masculine features, learn more about what to expect with facial masculinization surgery.
Facial Masculinization Surgery
Facial masculinization surgery is a set of procedures. The surgery aims to enhance the masculine appearance of the face. The goals of this surgery often involve reshaping bones or soft tissues to enhance angles of the brow, nose, jaw, and chin. Facial masculinization procedures may include forehead contouring, nose reshaping, jaw augmentation, or chin reshaping.
Many trans men and non-binary individuals start their transition with non-surgical procedures. This may include hormone therapy and facial masculinization fillers. These procedures can begin to enhance masculine features or minimize feminine features of the face. However, these changes may be temporary or may not be able to create the desired appearance. Face masculinization surgery yields permanent and more significant enhancements to facial features.
Who is a Good Candidate for Facial Masculinization Surgery?
It is important for trans men and non-binary individuals to consider all options that will help them achieve their desired appearance. To understand your options, meet with qualified medical professionals and an experienced craniofacial surgeon. You can discuss your individual goals and how best to achieve them through a personalized plan. Your gender-affirming transition may include non-surgical and surgical procedures to masculinize your face.
Candidates for facial masculinization surgery have a desire to make permanent changes to facial features. You may be a candidate for this surgery if you have been diagnosed with persistent gender dysphoria and you have experience living as a member of your desired gender. You may be required to obtain letters of support from hormone therapy and mental health providers to qualify for surgery. Learn more about the requirements to begin your surgical journey.
As you make the decision about whether face masculinization surgery is right for you, it is also important to have realistic expectations. Your surgeon will discuss your options and the timeline to help you achieve your goals.
Not everyone who desires to enhance the masculine features of their face can qualify for surgical procedures. When making the decision, an individual’s overall health and well-being are considered. Individuals with certain health conditions or those who are still growing may not be able to have the surgery. Individual circumstances are important in making the decision about having surgery.
Types of Facial Masculinization Procedures
There are many options for enhancing masculine features of the face. It is important to meet with your surgeon to develop your personalized plan. Your surgeon will discuss your specific goals, options available to you, and the results you can expect.
If you want to make your face look more masculine, there are a few procedures you can consider. One option is forehead contouring, where doctors reshape the bones and tissues in your forehead to make it look bigger and more prominent. Another procedure is rhinoplasty, where your surgeon can make your nose look more masculine by straightening the bridge and changing the angle between your nose and upper lip. Dr. Angela Rodriguez at ART Surgical specializes in a technique called endonasal rhinoplasty, which is less invasive and gives more predictable results.
You can also enhance your jawline by getting jaw augmentation. This involves using implants and reshaping the bones to make your jaw look sharper and more angular. Chin reshaping is another procedure where your surgeon uses implants and adjusts soft tissues to create a square-shaped masculine chin.
By talking to your surgeon about these options, you can come up with a plan to achieve the masculine facial features you desire.
Facial Masculinization Surgery: Before + After
When you meet with your surgeon, you will discuss the personalized plan to achieve your goals for facial masculinization. Depending on the desired procedures, they may be performed in a single operation or staged in a series of surgeries. Your surgeon will discuss your individual plan. They will also discuss what to expect before and after face masculinization surgery.
How to Prepare for Facial Masculinization Surgery
There are a few steps to help you prepare for your surgery. You may be required to obtain letters of support from your hormone therapy and mental health providers. Your surgeon will review those requirements with you before scheduling your surgery. Also be sure to contact your insurance company to understand your coverage and any requirements for surgery.
Prepare a list of all current medications, including herbs and supplements. Your surgeon will discuss the list with you. This may include requirements to stop taking medications or alter your diet. If you smoke, plan to quit smoking at least one month before your surgery.
On the day of your surgery, you must be accompanied by a friend or family member. You will be discharged into the care of this person, who will take you home and help manage your post-operative care. If you are traveling out of state for your procedure, your designated family member or friend must accompany you. Prior to your surgery, make arrangements with this person and discuss the help you will need before and after surgery.
What Happens During a Facial Masculinization Surgery
The details and duration of your facial masculinization surgery depend on the specific procedures being performed. You will receive anesthesia and will be sedated for the duration of your surgery.
Your surgeon will make incisions in locations that allow for reduced visible scarring. For forehead contouring procedures, incisions are typically made along the hairline. Incisions are typically made below the chin or inside the mouth for jaw augmentation and chin reshaping procedures. For rhinoplasty, there are options for conventional or endonasal procedures. At ART Surgical, Dr. Angela Rodriguez performs endonasal rhinoplasty, also known as closed rhinoplasty. In this procedure, incisions are made inside the nose, resulting in invisible incisions and less trauma and swelling to the surrounding tissues.
At the completion of your surgery, you will be brought to the recovery room to wake up from anesthesia. When ready, you will be discharged into the care of your family member or friend to take you home to begin your recovery.
Facial Masculinization Surgery Recovery
Recovery time from your face masculinization surgery depends on the specific procedures that are performed. Your recovery can range from a few weeks to a few months. It is recommended that you ask family members and friends to help with chores, childcare, and daily responsibilities. This will allow you time to recover.
Normal reactions to surgery include swelling, bruising, and tenderness. In the weeks that follow your surgery, your incisions will heal and the swelling and bruising will subside. Your surgeon will provide instructions for your post-operative care, including medication for pain. You will also receive guidance on when you can return to daily activities, including showering, exercising, and eating a typical diet.
Plan to return to your surgeon’s office about one week after your procedure to have sutures removed. Your surgeon will also evaluate your recovery and provide further instructions as needed for your continued care.
It takes time for swelling and bruising to heal following surgery. It may take a few weeks or more to see the final results of your surgery. You may find that as you look at yourself in the mirror everyday, you begin seeing your true self and may not even realize how much your physical appearance has changed.
What are the Risks of Facial Masculinization Surgery?
To decide if surgery should be part of your gender-affirming transition, it is important to evaluate both the risks and benefits. Like any surgery, facial masculinization surgery has inherent risks. Complications may include bleeding, infection, or poor healing of incisions. You may also experience adverse reactions to anesthesia. Your surgeon will provide the pre- and post-operative care you need to minimize these risks.
The risks of surgery should be balanced with the benefits. Many trans men and non-binary individuals choose to have face masculinization surgery to yield permanent changes to their facial features. Temporary enhancements may be possible with hormone therapy and non-surgical procedures such as dermal fillers. However, surgery yields permanent and more significant changes that can help align your physical appearance with your true identity.
Following facial masculinization surgery, many trans men and non-binary individuals experience improved self confidence and quality of life. When your outward appearance matches your inner self, you may feel more comfortable and confident in your daily interactions and activities.
Choosing the Right Craniofacial Surgeon For You
To understand your options for facial masculinization surgery, schedule a consultation with an experienced surgeon. Seek a surgeon who is experienced in craniofacial procedures and in the field of gender-affirming care. Your surgeon should listen to your goals to enhance the masculine features of your face and then develop a plan that is personalized for you.
Dr. Angela Rodriguez founded ART Surgical to provide compassionate and personalized gender-affirming care. She noticed a gap in surgical care for transgender, non-binary and gender diverse individuals. Dr. Rodriguez saw the need to provide care that is focused on each individual’s unique goals.
Dr. Angela Rodriguez has performed more than 3,000 craniofacial surgeries. Click below to schedule your consultation and discuss your options for face masculinization surgery with Dr. Rodriguez.