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Facial Feminization Surgery

Feminine Traits vs. Masculine Traits

How do you know if your facial features are 'feminine' or 'masculine?' We see male and female faces on a daily basis, but many of us are at a loss for words when asked to explain exactly what makes a face 'male' or 'female'.

The Forehead
The forehead doesn't seem like a gendered feature, but there are some major differences between the male and female forehead. One of these differences is that the male forehead is much flatter than the female's more convex version.

The forehead can be corrected by a procedure called "bony feminization." Bony feminization can be done in several different ways, including orbital rim procedures, silicone rubber implants or a procedure called an 'orbital rim' procedure. A beautiful example of the difference this procedure can make can be seen in the after pictures of patient Sally.

The Scalp
The scalp is another big tell, but for more obvious reasons. Think about this: how many women have you seen with a receding hairline? Chances are, not many. While biological women do sometimes suffer from hair loss, it is usually an all-over thinning of the hair from the entire scalp and isn't specifically targeted to one area.

Differences in the scalp between men and women can often be corrected quite effectively with a scalp advancement procedure. This entails removing a section of the skin on the forehead (between the hairline and eyebrows) and pulling the scalp forward. This should at least act as a temporary fix for a receding hairline in patients suffering from hair loss, and should work as a more permanent feminizing solution to those patients who do not. For patients with a receding hairline, this surgery will not correct the hair loss, so it is highly recommended those patients seek out a more permanent hair loss solution, like hair grafts or plugs, to keep the hairline looking full and healthy.

The Nose
The differences between a 'male' and 'female' nose tend to be more of a case of aesthetic preference than anything else. Generally, male noses have more cartilage, making them broader and thicker. Obviously, when you think of a 'female' nose, you think of a smaller, narrower, 'button' nose, but there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, as all women are not necessarily born with a nose they even remotely like. This is why rhinoplasty is such a popular surgical procedure amongst women- biological and otherwise. Still, as your nose is 'front and center' in your face, it plays an important role in others' first impression of you. The good news is, because of the texture of the nasal cartilage, noses are relatively easy to work with, and achieving the nose of your dreams is usually fairly easy to do.

The Eyebrows
Brow LiftThe eyebrows are another 'not so obvious' facial tell. For some, keeping the brows neat and groomed is enough to help them pass. That sultry feminine arch can be easily achieved by waxing or tweezing and any sparse areas can be quickly filled in with a brow pencil to help make the eyes 'pop'. For some patients, however, brow care is not that easy.

The difference between the male and female eyebrow is a feature called "brow bossing." Brow bossing is the bony ridge that protrudes from the forehead directly above the eye sockets and below the actual eyebrows. Bossing can be corrected by a procedure known as an eyebrow lift, which picks up the brows a bit while still having a natural (read: not "surprised") appearance.

The Cheekbones
If your cheekbones aren't as high and chiseled as you'd like them to be, you may want to consider cheek (submalar) implants. In addition to giving the patient sculpted, defined cheekbones, cheek implants can also help balance out the face, by making the nose appear smaller and the chin not so protrusive. They can even help accentuate and draw attention to the eyes.

Cheek implant surgery is relatively non-invasive and takes about 45 minutes to complete. Implants are usually made of a silicone-rubber that is inserted through the inside of the face above the upper jaw. The implants are then positioned, and the incision is closed. This keeps the scarring inside the mouth and out of plain sight.

The Chin and Mandibles
Not every chin will need feminization, but if you have a masculine chin- one which is larger, wider and blunter than average, feminization can go a long way towards changing the overall look of your face. This can be achieved by utilizing chin implants or by making incisions into the bone to reshape what's already there. Regardless of your choice, the chin is one of the most adaptable areas of the face, so almost any look you could possibly want to achieve is possible.

The mandibles are the bones at the widest part of the jaw. Typically, they are more pronounced and angular on men, whereas women's mandibles are narrower, softer and less obvious. The difference in thickness can be attributed to the masseter muscle. In order to contour the mandibles, the masseter muscle is removed so the bone can be contoured, leaving behind a narrower, more tapered mandible. The mandibles are another area that may not be necessary to change- especially if you like the look of a strong jaw. It is not unheard of for women to have prominent mandibles.

The Adam's Apple
The Adam's apple is probably the only exclusively male trait above the shoulders. It is caused by an excess of cartilage protruding above the larynx (the voice box). The Adam's apple develops during puberty when the male voice deepens quickly and dramatically. Because women's voices do not do this, they do not develop Adam's apples.

To reduce the Adam's apple, excess cartilage on the trachea is removed by making a transverse incision on the widest part of the cartilage.