In 2017, the Research and Development Department of FACIALTEAM participated in a viewpoint letter to propose a change in terminology when discussing facial surgery for transgender women. The objective in presenting this “letter to the editor” is to create impetus in including FFS Surgical techniques as an integral part of trans health. The key differentiation of the “New Nomenclature”, Facial Gender Confirmation Surgery (FGCS), distinguishes the treatment from what has historically been considered “cosmetic” or “not vital”. Indeed, facial feminization treatment is obtained by cis patients who seek changes in appearance unrelated to their gender identity. Therefore, by specifying the purpose of facial gender confirming surgery for trans women as distinct from other aesthetic surgery, we may open doors to inclusion in health insure plans.
The viewpoint was published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal in November 2017, Volume 140 , Issue 5, p 766e–767e. PRS is the peer-reviewed, official publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It covers all aspects of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including interventions, clinical or laboratory research, and case reports. The impact factor of the journal is 3.784, according to the Journal Citation Reports.
Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) is decisive in the visual identification of facial gender and has a striking benefit on the quality of life of transgender patients. However, the popularly known concept of FFS is so broad that it can include groups of patients who are not concerned with gender identity, yet for whom the techniques of FFS are undoubtedly indicated (for example, cisgender males and females with unusually prominent supraorbital ridges).
Considering this viewpoint, the propose to use the term ‘Facial Gender Confirmation Surgery’, or FGCS for short, as a sub-category of ‘Facial Feminization Surgery’, hence clarifying the distinction as a gender-confirming surgery.
One constructive step in this definition process would be to determine the most appropriate nomenclature, one that would establish precise limits regarding the surgical field, when this surgery is indicated, and what its procedures are. In this context, the term “facial gender confirmation surgery,” as proposed in the recent article by Berli et al., provides a more suitable description of this surgery than “facial feminization surgery.” This new term indicates that although the surgical techniques are the same, their objective is very distinct and, moreover, they are intended for specific patients with well-defined needs.
In short, a more precise and inclusive terminology with a better definition of the core surgical procedures included in FGCS will help to better consolidate this rapidly evolving discipline for patients, professionals, and society at large.
The participation of several autors was key in the right definition of the new nomenclature, due to the extensive experience of each professional in the transgender health field:
- Luis Capitán, M.D., Ph.D, and Daniel Simon, D.M.D. from FACIALTEAM;
- Jens U. Berli, M.D. from Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department of Surgery of Oregon Health & Sciences University,
- Carlos Bailón, M.D., Raúl J. Bellinga, M.D. , Javier G. Santamaría, M.D, Thiago Tenório, M.D., FACIALTEAM Surgical Group.
- Anabel Sánchez-García, Ph.D., Fermín Capitán-Cañadas, Ph.D., FACIALTEAM Research & Development
The Research and Development Department at FACIALTEAM is one of most advanced centers in Facial Gender Confirmation Surgery, active in improving transgender healthcare. At the heart of the team´s interests are better results in facial gender affirming treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, in order to offer the best options to patients. FACIALTEAM not only drives its efforts towards developing new techniques and establishing solid protocols in the field of FGCS. The R&D team also organises professional training sessions to ensure the dissemination of modern concepts in FFS and FGCS within the medical community.
In addition to the activities mentioned, the team collaborates closely with international universities towards the innovation of the instruments and methodology in facial gender surgery. Thus, benefiting those who appreciate it the most: transgender patients of all ages around the world.