For many trans women, facial feminization surgery is an important step towards finally having a body that feels "right" and that passes in public. But as excited as you probably are to have this surgery, you might also have a bit or apprehension. This is a surgical procedure, and having a surgeon work on your face for any reason can be a little scary. But here's the thing: knowing what to expect can help. Here's a look at the different elements of facial feminization surgery and what to expect from each one.
This is the fancy word for a "nose job." Men typically have wider noses than women, so an important part of feminization surgery is shaving down some of the bone on either side of the nose. If your nose is on the longer side, some of the cartilage near the tip of your nose may also be removed. Recovering from rhinoplasty can be a bit uncomfortable as you'll need to wear a padded bandage over your nose for a few weeks. However, as long as you are gentle around your nose, the pain should not be too severe.
The distance between the nose and the upper lip is often smaller in females than in males. To achieve a more feminine look, therefore, your surgeon will likely perform a procedure called a lip lift. This involves making an incision and removing some skin from above your lip. Once the remaining skin is stitched back together, the distance between your lip and nose will be reduced. This lip lift is one of the less invasive aspects of facial feminization surgery and heals pretty easily since only the outer layers of skin are affected.
This is, in many cases, the most invasive of the procedures performed as a part of facial feminization. The angle of your jawline will be changed to give you a more pronounced jaw and narrower chin. Some of the bone may be shaved down, and the size of some of your muscles in this area may also be reduced. There is a risk of nerve damage that increases if major bone work is done. As such, you should carefully discuss your expectations with your surgeon. It's important to feminize your look just enough, but not more than needed.
Talk to your plastic surgeon to learn more about these major elements of facial feminization surgery. They can give you a better idea of what to expect based on your personal face shape and preferences.