People tend to think that FFS surgery expectations are only related to the outcomes of surgery. Understandably, your and your family’s expectations may also be related to how you think life will be different with a more feminine face. These pre-existing (sometimes unconscious) assumptions have the purpose of motivating us. They may be beneficial if the expectations of facial feminization surgery results are based on reality. However, such hopes can be misleading if unrealistic.
Do I have realistic FFS Surgery expectations?
What are my FFS Surgery expectations?
With expectations we refer to all those previous ideas we have about how the results of the surgery will be and how they will affect our lives.
When we are faced with an anticipated event, we inevitably generate expectations that make us imagine, correctly or not, how things are going to be when that event occurs. In the case of facial gender affirming surgery, it’s hard not to have preconceived ideas of what the result of the surgery will be like. How feminine my forehead will look, how round my chin will be or how the reaction of others will change.
You may visualize how certain situations will change after surgery. For example, thinking how your family will treat you, of walking out in public with greater self-confidence than before, of talking to strangers with less fear of being prejudiced against due to your appearance. These kinds of “daydreams” of the potential changes in daily life are normal. It is natural and healthy for them to run through your head.
When expectations of FFS are unrealistic
The problem comes when our imagination goes too far, making you believe your happiness is going to be much greater. As if by magic, that all your problems are going to be solved and that your social relationships will be seamless after the surgery. These types of expectations are not realistic and can make you feel very frustrated after surgery, because you expected more of it.
How do you know if your expectations are realistic or not? Simply ask yourself, “What is my goal with facial feminisation?” Do you think you’ll be prettier or younger? Or do you want to look like someone you are not? Do you believe it’s going to solve your personal problems? If any of the answers goes beyond looking more feminine and gaining more confidence in yourself in social situations, then you should rethink the your what facial gender affirmation means.
Unrealistic expectations of facial feminising surgery
When we talk about unrealistic projections, we refer to those thoughts that lead us erroneously to believe that all and any problems we have after the operation will suddenly disappear. Take, for example, ultimatums such as “everyone will treat me well” and demands such as “an immediate increase in self-esteem” or to finally achieve long-desired happiness – these are presumptions that really have nothing to do with the facial surgery itself yet with external factors we cannot control.
It is easy to imagine that the people who treat us badly or misgender us will then see us as more feminine, so the problem will be gone. Also, you may presume that when you look in the mirror once healed, you won´t recognize any trace of the former face with which you did not identify with. These are also examples of unrealistic FFS surgery expectations.
Obstacles to satisfaction with FFS results
By general rule, what is achieved with facial gender confirming surgery is to feminize the face by softening the masculine traits. As a consequence of this gender affirming surgery, well-being and quality of life may indeed increase. You should perceive that the face is more in line with your self-image. Nonetheless, what cannot be expected of facial feminising surgery is that other vital goals in life will be achieved that have nothing to do with the results of the surgery.
With feminizing surgery we change our physical features, but it is up to each patient to personally work on the emotional circumstances that may impede us from appreciating the positive changes of the feminisation surgery. Other obstacles to satisfaction with results may include an obsession with looking for every minuscule masculine trait, demanding unnatural perfection or the unfounded fear that people always are “clocking” or judging you.
Facial gender confirming surgery (FGCS) is not a magic wand that will erase your problems or dysphoria in one fell swoop. FGCS is just a very effective tool for softening some masculine facial features and bringing them as close as possible to female parameters.
See this livestream with the specialists who discuss the importance of adjusting patient expectations of facial gender confirming surgery:
Establishing realistic FFS surgery expectations
Keeping your expectations realistic is very important to your emotional well-being. This is because if we have high expectations, it is more likely that you will generate anxiety and worry about the surgery. You are also more likely to be obsessed with looking for results too soon, causing stress and frustration. Also, with high expectations, dissatisfaction with the results of surgery is more likely your imagination has put the bar too high.
After facial gender affirmation surgery, most patients experience an improvement in their quality of life because they feel more self-confident and this helps the dysphoria to disappear. There are scientific studies which support this fact. Yet we cannot pretend that it is that magic wand that makes our problems disappear from one day to the next.
In conclusion, if you harbour unrealistic expectations of the FFS surgery, it is more likely that you will not be satisfied with the results since they will not align with your preconceived ideas of the benefits. We recommend that you regulate your expectations to feel good and live the FFS process in a healthier and more conscious way.
It takes time and effort to develop realistic and healthy FFS surgery expectations. We must be aware of how far the surgery can go and recognize the limitations of the base from which each patient departs (physically speaking). It is in the hands of each individual to alter their personal and emotional perspectives, although softening facial features helps many, it is only one of the many factors involved.
See this tutorial on the Facialteam philosophy which addresses the importance of FFS Surgery expectations: