What Is Facial Feminization Surgery?

June 12, 2022

Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of procedures that may be undergone to create a facial look that is more feminine. It is most commonly sought out by transgender women as part of their transition from male to female.

Several procedures fall under the rubric of FFS: browlifting, frontal feminizing cranioplasty,fat grafting, lip lifting, face or neck lifts, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, jaw reduction, and hairline lowering.


The Basics of Facial Feminization Surgery

With FFS, the features of the face are changed to appear less masculine and more feminine. This can involve a single procedure or several of them. Soft tissues, cartilage, and bone may be reshaped depending on the chosen procedure.

Masculine faces are often sharp and square, so this surgery makes the face softer and more heart-shaped. The brow ridge and forehead can be shaped to have feminine contours and highlights. Most individuals seeking FFS want changes made to the jaw, nose, forehead, and hairline.

Reasons to Choose Facial Feminization Surgery

There are a few reasons to choose FFS surgery. As mentioned, it is often chosen by transgender women who want a more feminine appearance.

However, cisgender women who have sharp, square faces may choose these procedures to have a more feminine facial look. People who experience gender dysphoria but do not identify as transgender women may also choose FFS.

On the other hand, some people may not be the best candidate for these procedures. It’s not often practiced on anyone under the age of 18. Physicians are also wary of providing it to anyone who has unrealistic expectations.

If you have a health condition or mental health disorder that makes surgery dangerous or inappropriate, surgery may also not be allowed.

Types of Facial Feminization Surgery

As mentioned, many procedures fall under the FFS umbrella. Each person can choose what to have done based on their needs. The various surgeries include:

  • Cheek Augmentation – Adds more fat (or implants) to the cheeks
  • Chin Reduction – Reshapes and reduces the size of the chin
  • Forehead Contouring – Removes and reshapes parts of the bone to create a smoother appearance
  • Hairline Lowering – Moves your skin forward to avoid a receding hairline
  • Jaw Contouring – Shaves layers of bone to reduce the size and angles of the mandible
  • Lip Augmentation and Lift – Raises the upper lip and shortens the space between the nose and the lip. It may include fillers or fat injections
  • Rhinoplasty – Reduces the width of the bone and reshapes the tip and bridge for smoother contours
  • Chondrolaryngoplasty (AKA “Tracheal Shave”) – Cartilage of the voice box is carefully contoured to minimize the appearance of an Adam’s apple

How Long Does FFS Take?

The length of time for FFS varies based on the chosen procedures. If the full list is done in one period, this can take eight or nine hours. However, the procedures are often split with some done one day and the others a week later. This offers more time to heal in between procedures.

Facial feminization surgery is an excellent option to ensure your physical appearance is congruent with the gender you identify as. For many transgender women, FFS is one of the most important steps of their transition. Following surgery, many women feel more secure and confident about their gender expression.