Facial Feminization Surgery: What You Should Know
What Is Facial Feminization Surgery?
Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a procedure used to change your appearance from being masculine or feminine. FFS involves the removal of fat deposits from around the face and neck area, which are then replaced with muscle tissue. This results in a more attractive look, especially when compared to looking like a man.
The procedures include:
Eyelid Lift – This procedure involves removing excess skin from the upper eyelids. The result is a wider eye opening, which makes it easier for you to see clearly. Eyebrowlift – This procedure involves lifting up the hairline on top of the head. Hair grows out naturally at different points along the scalp, but if left unchecked it will eventually grow into a point where it won’t fit properly under your hat or overcoat.
With eyebrow lift, the hairline is lifted so that the hair doesn’t fall over your eyes. Chin Lift – This procedure involves lifting up the chin area to make it appear larger. Nose Job – This procedure involves making a small incision in your nose to create a smaller opening for breathing and other functions. Face Lift – This procedure involves lifting up the cheeks to give them a fuller appearance.
Gender Reaffirmation Surgery
Many people suffering from gender dysphoria feel the need to get their external appearance in line with their internal gender identity. For most people who undergo these types of procedures, the results are life-changing, both physically and socially. To have the body you always wanted can have a significant positive impact on your mood and self-esteem.
While these procedures can cost as much as $100,000 out of pocket, many insurance companies are now willing to provide funding for people who wish to undergo gender reassignment surgery. There are still some stipulations for being approved for these procedures, including undergoing mental health evaluations by board certified psychiatrists.
Which Procedures Are Covered?
Insurance companies are willing to pay for many types of procedures, but not all of them. For instance, male to female procedures such as facial feminization and genital reassignment surgery are more commonplace and in high demand so insurance companies are more willing to provide funding for these procedures. On the other hand, female to male procedures can be quite expensive and may not be covered.
If you are approved for gender reassignment surgery, you need to decide which procedures you want and in what order you want them done. Not all the procedures are irreversible, so you need to make sure you’re making the right decision. For instance, some patients may be approved for genital reassignment surgery but not facial feminization.
Making the decision as to which procedure to have first involves speaking with a qualified plastic surgeon that performs these types of procedures on a regular basis. Your surgeon will take a look at you and make suggestions as to what can and can’t be done. These procedures are not without risk, so you need to decide if you’re willing to go under the knife for the procedure and how much risk you’re willing to take on.
Procedures Excluded from Insurance Coverage
Many of the procedures are excluded from insurance coverage. For instance, most companies don’t cover hair transplants or facial hair removal as part of the transition process. While these procedures can be necessary in some cases, many people can go their entire lifetime without needing them.
The first procedure that people think about when it comes to gender reassignment surgery is male to female genital reassignment surgery. This procedure is not typically covered by insurance plans and can cost as much as $100,000, even with good healthcare. Only a few doctors in the United States perform these types of procedures, which makes it even harder to find good care at an affordable price.
Male to Female Genital Procedures
Clitoral Release: This is the first step for female to male reassignment surgery. The skin surrounding the clitoris is released from its attachments and moved outward. This is done in order to give the clitoris a more accessible surface area for stimulation. The procedure takes about an hour and is typically priced at $5,000.
Scrotoplasty: This is a surgical procedure in which the scrotal skin is used to create a vaginal cavity. The skin is rolled inward and shaped appropriately before it is stitched into place. The procedure lasts about an hour and is priced between $7,000 and $12,000.
Penile Inversion: This is a more involved surgical procedure in which the penile tissue is used to construct a vaginal canal. The skin is separated from the penile tissue and the urethra is rerouted through the vaginal canal. The procedure takes about two hours and is priced between $15,000 and $50,000.
The procedures listed above were not all inclusive. For a complete list of all the male to female genital procedures that may be available to you, speak with your insurance representative or a qualified plastic surgeon that performs these types of procedures regularly. All of these procedures can be done in combination with one another, so you may want to speak with a qualified medical professional to get a second opinion on which procedures are right for you.
Female to Male Genital Procedures
Metoidioplasty: This is the most common female to male genital reassignment procedure. In this procedure, the labia are released from their attachments and pulled forward. Skin is then pulled from the old position and relocated where the clitoris once existed. This procedure is priced between $15,000 and $30,000.
Phalloplasty: This is the most common female to male genital reassignment procedure. In this procedure, a cylinder of skin is taken from the forearm and used to construct a phallus. The urethra is then rerouted through the new phallus and lengthened to accommodate urination through the new organ. The scrotum is also created during this procedure.
This procedure is priced between $60,000 and $100,000.
Metaidoioplasty: This is a combination of the metoidioplasty and phalloplasty procedures. This procedure is less common than the other two and is priced similarly to metoidioplasty alone.
Sources & references used in this article:
The look of a woman: facial feminization surgery and the aims of trans-medicine by DK Ousterhout – 2009 – Addicus Books
Facial feminization surgery: the forehead. Surgical techniques and analysis of results by E Plemons – 2017 – books.google.com
Challenges in care of the transgender patient seeking facial feminization surgery by DK Ousterhout – Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2015 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Formations of femininity: science and aesthetics in facial feminization surgery by JH Spiegel – Facial plastic surgery clinics of North America, 2008 – Elsevier
What surgeons need to know about gender confirmation surgery when providing care for transgender individuals: a review by E Plemons – Medical Anthropology, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
Making the gendered face: The art and science of facial feminization surgery by JU Berli, G Knudson, L Fraser, V Tangpricha… – … Surgery, 2017 – jamanetwork.com
Special edition on transgender facial surgery by ED Plemons – 2012 – escholarship.org