Facial rejuvenation and facial feminization

"My transitioning patients feel quite similarly that what they see in the mirror does not match who they are on the inside," says Dr. Courtney Caplin.

by Dr. Courtney Caplin
Trans Surgical Columnist

As a full body cosmetic surgeon, I operate on patients from head to toe - from facelifts to tummy tucks. I do everything from mommy makeovers on women wanting their pre-baby bodies back to transgender patients wanting their bodies to match their gender identities.

What I have found interesting is the similarity in treating patients who are interested in facial rejuvenation for an aging face and facial feminization for a transitioning face.

My aging patients look in the mirror and do not recognize the person looking back at them; they wonder if it is truly them or their parent. They feel young on the inside, but the outside does not match. My transitioning patients feel quite similarly that what they see in the mirror does not match who they are on the inside.

Although these patients have similar feelings and concerns about their faces, the cause and the solution have even more in common. The aging process actually masculinizes the face. I discuss with patients that as we age, we lose volume from our mid-face (cheek region) and gravity takes its toll, pulling everyone down and creating lower eyebrows and jowls.

Heaviness in the lower face make a person appear older and more masculine. Reducing the redundant tissue in the lower face, restoring this volume to the cheek region, and raising the eyebrows will create a more youthful and feminine face.

It is not uncommon that I recommend similar treatment plans for both the facial rejuvenation and feminization surgeries. Although every patient's treatment plan is customized for his or her needs and goals, the surgeries involved in facial rejuvenation often include a neck lift, face lift, brow lift and eye lift.

For my transitioning patients, treatment plans also often include treating the forehead, chin and nose. At the same time a brow lift is performed to raise the eyebrows, the brow bone can be reduced and flattened and the hairline can be advanced. Using the same incision for the neck lift, the chin bone can be reduced and reshaped into a smaller, rounder and more feminine form.

Finally, the nose is often addressed for feminization, as any hump or bump on the nose is considered masculine. What is nice is that an upper lip lift (to make a long upper lip smaller) can also be performed sharing an incision with a rhinoplasty (nose job).

In summary, many procedures can be performed on the face for both rejuvenation and feminization. But most important is determining what each individual needs. If any of these procedures appeal to you or a loved one, make sure your surgeon spends adequate time diagnosing what you need to meet your goals and explaining the surgery and recovery process.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – June 28, 2017 @ 11:20 a.m.