Not just any FFS Specialist: A service necessary for survival.
Gender dysphoria is a now a widely recognized condition in the 21st century, common to the transgender population which increasingly demands its absolute acceptance and socio-civil rights in today’s society. Fortunately, numerous necessary legal changes have been incorporated in many countries to enable a higher degree of integration in the various aspects of any lifestyle (work, family, institutional, etc.). However, as we know, many obstacles still remain.
The field of medicine has responded to the challenges of addressing gender dysphoria, in all the perspectives involved: hormonal, genital, psycho-social and cosmetic, with encouraging results now readily available. Thanks to professional associations such as WPATH and their sister organizations worldwide, developments in transgender healthcare is moving forward quickly.
The key to a complete social integration of the transgender community is a combination of a greater openness and awareness in society and an increased accessibility to excellent results in the different areas of medical treatment for gender dysphoria.
Of essential importance to patients is the ability to “pass” unperceived, without question, as the women they are. Since this is a challenge on many levels, it is understandable that all trans women struggle to express their true selves. A real integration is only possible when there is no doubt that one’s feelings, behavior, dress or lifestyle match their apparent gender.
This is where facial feminization surgery (FFS) plays a fundamental role. Most postoperative patients agree that FFS has allowed them to survive and had FFS as a matter of necessity.
By softening certain features, facial feminization surgery enables individuals to be identified more often as the person they really feel to be.
The aim of FFS is to harmonize those aspects of the facial skeleton conditioned by genetics to receive a very marked hormonal stimulation during puberty.
Instead of detailing the surgical techniques available, it is perhaps more appropriate to emphasize the importance that the feminization specialist thoroughly evaluates each case on an individual basis, since facial dynamics and proportions vary widely. It is not correct to apply the same treatment to all faces, instead of only the precise procedures truly needed. For example, some women require prominent jaw angles as they are consistent with the rest of the facial architecture, while others require a refining of the mandibular contours to obtain balanced proportions in accordance with a more oval face.
…In addition, the perspective of a FFS specialist is not necessarily the same as that of a standard approach: a standardized rhinoplasty does not have the same objectives as a feminizing rhinoplasty…
Finally, we would draw attention to the fact that facial feminization surgery does not abide by aesthetic criteria; the purpose of feminisation surgery is not to create a model’s face, since numerous surgical techniques and excellent professionals are available for this.
The FFS approach focuses mainly on sculpting bone, to give determined facial features a softer and, consequently, more feminine contour.
In summary, FFS is yet another resource in the progressive advancement towards complete social integration for the transgender individual, who is at an shockingly increased risk of hate-crimes and suicide in a largely cisgender society.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Dr. Luis M. Capitán and Dr. Daniel Simon are founders and co-directors of FACIAL TEAM, an internationally renowned team of professionals specialized in facial feminization surgery, based in Marbella, Spain and Sao Paulo, Brazil.