Advice

The Ins & Outs of Traveling Abroad for FFS Surgery

When picking an FFS surgeon for your facial feminization surgery, you may ask yourself, “What are the pros and cons of getting facial feminization surgery abroad?” 

Many are daunted by the project of analyzing facial feminization surgery cost by country. The task of comparing techniques for a forehead feminization, hairline advancement, jaw reductions or any other combination of procedures is frankly overwhelming. 

So let’s talk about the ins-and-outs of seeking the best country for facial feminization surgery. 

FFS Surgery Abroad can be More Affordable

Transgender women have historically tended to look beyond borders for what is traditionally known as “gender reassignment surgery.” On one hand, gender affirming services were simply not readily available in their countries. On the other hand, gender confirmation surgery overseas, despite the added travel costs, is often less expensive.

Facial feminization surgery costs can quickly become unattainable for many people in places like the U.S., where healthcare costs remain very high. Medical tourism in countries that have lower overhead costs across the board make their lower prices attractive. Quality may vary, although top medical resorts are held to the same international standards of care and good medical practices.

So cost isn’t the only reason. People seek clinics abroad for their reputation of reliable results or being LGBTIQ+ friendly. Regrettably, trans women often face additional obstacles to afford facial gender surgery abroad, or anywhere for that matter.

Insurance Coverage for FFS Surgery abroad

Medical inequality for trans people means that access to quality trans healthcare is absent or limited in many regions. In the rare instance that FFS Surgery is included in your health insurance policy, services may be incomplete or function only on a reimbursement basis. 

Long waiting lists for ffs surgery, as well as problems with the authorization process, make this a frustrating and challenging process.

Countries with a social health system may have more progressive policies, but this does not mean it is any easier to get insurance coverage for your surgery. Public health care regimes typically restrict services for trans people to genital reconstruction surgery, breast masculinization, and tracheal shaves. 

Like cosmetic surgery, facial feminization and other gender confirmation surgeries are frequently considered elective procedures, so are easily rejected or require an elaborate approval process to gain any coverage. Part of this process may even include giving proof of mental illness, when this is not actually the case.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Z PhD, an expert in trans therapy and also the provision of referral letters, cites issues with gatekeeping and insurance company denials as one of the reasons she recommends going abroad to Facialteam for facial feminization surgery in Spain.

Unfortunately, it’s not very common to get even partial coverage for ffs surgery. Due to various road-blocks in getting health insurance compensation, many people seeking a medical transition are obliged to look for gender-affirming care overseas. 

Most Popular Countries for FFS Surgery

Traveling for medical procedures is rising. Medical tourism for both general and specialized care has widely spread throughout the years. Popular countries for all kinds of medical travel include Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand and Korea. Turkey recently has also become popular for hair transplant and scalp advancement procedures.

Facialteam in Spain, operates in Marbella (Andalucía) and Barcelona, a convenient and attractive destination for all Europeans. 

Portals like Treatment Abroad facilitate contact with reliable FFS providers. Online gender clinics like FOLX in the U.S. or GenderGP in the UK provide guidance on gender transition.

FFS Surgery abroad, the Pro’s

Are you still wondering, “Is it really worth traveling abroad for FFS surgery?” Traveling abroad implies an investment in time, planning efforts and financial management. So what are 2 main reasons people think facial gender confirmation surgery (FGCS) abroad is worthwhile? 

Access to the Best FFS Surgeons in the World 

“I plan to seek care abroad in Europe where costs are lower and the medical skill set is higher than in the States”

Dahlia on GoFundMe, saving for FFS Surgery.

One major reason for seeking facial feminization surgery abroad is the fact that the number of providers with sufficient experience exclusively in the field is extremely small. Although many clinics claim to offer it, their level of expertise is a variable. 

The quantity and quality of photographic evidence before and after FFS results is a key indicator. For example, the authenticity of a large number of testimonials of Facialteam patients, for example, is proof of consistent results.

Unless you live near a large city, it is very likely that you’ll have long-distance traveling to get to the nearest FFS surgeon. Opening up for traveling for your surgery, will give you the possibility to consider the best ffs surgeons in the world

Access to the Best FFS Patient Care in Spain

There will be a difference in care between a clinic with experience caring for over 2000 FFS patients from overseas and a generalist surgery practice that normally attends people locally. The promised comprehensive care services before, during and after your FGCS is important for peace of mind. 

Top FFS services

Facialteam stands out in professionalism at all stages of the facial feminization journey. To optimize your wellbeing we include services such as; 

  • Automatic medical insurance
  • Psychological support
  • Peer group sessions
  • Hilotherapy cooling
  • Lymphatic drainage massage
  • Acupuncture
  • 24-hour emergency support
Facialteam facilities in Marbella, Spain. A popular destination for FFS Surgery abroad.

Accomodation

Most patients will have to book a hotel room for two weeks in the surgeon’s city. This is true regardless of whether the surgeon is in Spain or your home country, unless you live very close by. 

Hotels in Spain usually have comparable prices to most major US cities. Facialteam offers accommodations where specialized services are offered as part of your post-op care offering.

FFS Surgery abroad, the Con’s

It’s a great opportunity to take a trip to another country. Yet remember medical travel is different from tourism! You will have the usual preoccupations when traveling, plus some serious qualms to clarify.

Dealing with stress

Going to a foreign country is both exciting and a scary proposition! All the surgical details on top of travel details can get overwhelming. There are many ways to manage stress, anxiety and emotions when crossing the planet for a big surgery.

Speak with others before starting your life-changing journey so you don’t feel isolated. Your counselor, family and peers can provide the ffs support you need and clear doubts you may have.

Complications

This is a recurring question that is natural to worry about after any surgery, not to mention if miles away from home. 

The majority of “complications” after facial feminization surgery are considered minor. Even more significant issues should be typically resolved within the first days or fortnight by your medical provider.

By the time you are clear for traveling home, the chance of any complication will have dropped significantly. Minor issues that may arise at a later stage, like an embedded suture, can be managed by your nurse practitioner at your local health center or your primary care physician. 

There is always a statistical possibility that a problem might arise at any time. This is one of the reasons why you should consider the reliability and professionalism of your chosen provider. A top surgical clinic will support you in the event of any issues.

Be sure to ask beforehand that your surgical team will be willing to communicate with your PCP in the event collaborative care is required.

What is Traveling Abroad for FFS Surgery like?

Amelia., from the United Kingdom, considers the travel aspect to be “a second tier issue”, because “it’s your face, you want the best you can get.” She points out that many providers offering facial feminization procedures are individual general plastic surgeons.

Amelia says that with a multidisciplinary team “You get the benefit of a large team of specialists, rather than one man who may be doing lipo one week, boobs the next and feminising your face the week after.”

Erica from Australia couldn’t agree more, saying that it was “totally worth the distance” to travel to Europe to have facial feminization surgery by an expert team that is actually specialized in trans patients who travel from around the globe. 

Facial Feminization in Spain, a Premium Medical Journey

Having your facial feminization surgery abroad isn’t exactly a holiday as you’ll need to rest. Depending on the type of surgery, you’ll be back on your feet and ready for gentle exploration in about one week. More intense activities are best planned prior to the operation. 

Companions may enjoy Marbella, one of southern Spain’s most popular tourism destinations. Even patients like to carve out extra time before surgery to visit the sights of the region and enjoy a taste of Andalusian culture. 

Facialteam’s location in the province of Málaga is a short plane ride away for many Europeans. Gorgeous weather and friendly residents make it popular, so people return for non-surgical vacations in order to really enjoy it. 

The local population is distinctly international. Expats and foreigners with holiday homes love the Costa del sol, so visitors effortlessly blend in with a diverse and cosmopolitan population. Such a welcoming climate and environment provides the ideal location for FFS surgery abroad, no matter where you come from! 

To speak with us about FFS Surgery in Spain, reach out for a free consultation.

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Patient Relations Manager Lilia Koss, presentator of Lilia's Livestreams
About the author

Hello world! I’m Lilia Koss and I use she, her, and they pronouns. What are yours? With a background in humanities and diverse professional experiences, I have been working with the Facialteam founders and directors since 2018. Involved from the ground up, so I’ve had hands in many pots: patient coordination, orientation events on 3 continents, social media, written and audiovisual content about our gender-affirming healthcare...but now life is more defined. Lately, I focus my energies on Public Relations, community management and live streaming to help raise the visibility of trans health. Life is pretty complete.