Facial Masculinization Surgery: What Is It & Process

As medical techniques advance, new types of surgeries emerge with better results and improved patient satisfaction. Facial masculinization procedures encompass a range of different methods.

Let’s explore the subject of facial masculinization surgery from every angle. We’ll cover everything from objectives and methods to the real-world experiences of people who undergo the process.

What Is Facial Masculinization?

Any type of treatment or procedure that creates more masculine facial features can be included in this broad category. A masculine face is characterized by features such as a more defined jawline, angular cheeks, or a broader forehead with a prominent ridge. 

No two procedures are exactly alike. For best results, patients must work closely with a skilled surgeon to achieve their unique objectives. 

Over time, however, the ideal facial structure can be achieved for life-changing results.

Background and Goals

Facial masculinization is a relatively new concept, brought into the mainstream with rising instances of gender dysphoria. Women or other individuals transitioning to male and seeking to affirm their gender with defining physical features may find that these procedures help them feel more aligned with their true identity.

It’s not just the FTM crowd that finds a use for masculinization surgery. Biologically born men have succeeded with these measures as they aim to appear more masculine, targeting what they perceive to be a specific flaw or shortcoming in their appearance, such as a weak chin.

With the medical space pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in cosmetic surgery and hormonal manipulation, we’ve only just begun to watch a major interdisciplinary trend develop.

Key Features and Focus Areas

Each client will have certain areas of the face which will be addressed through various treatments or surgeries. The jawline is a common focus area since this can be a quick and recognizable way to determine whether someone is male or female.

Jaw and cheek surgeries can be done to either add tissue to the area to create a broader chin or more angular jaw, typically accomplished through a fat grating or fillers administered via injection. 

For others, the forehead and hairline are the focal points of the masculinization process. Feminine hairlines tend to be lower, more rounded, and complete. In contrast, masculine hairlines may be described as “mature” (sitting slightly further back) with some minor recession characteristic of early stage pattern balding. 

Ideally, patients will be able to maintain their real hair and a full hairline but still demonstrate masculine features with a mature appearance. 

Finally, patients may target secondary features of the face and surrounding areas such as the nose, throat, and neck. A combination of rhinoplasty and other cosmetic procedures, along with hormone therapy and additional treatments, can dramatically enhance the masculine appearance of one’s face in a relatively short time frame. 

Support and Personnel

One procedure is often not enough to achieve a complete overhaul of someone’s facial features. With so many possible routes to choose from, today’s patients can benefit from a diverse team of doctors, therapists, and medical consultants to get their desired results.

For instance, a person identifying as male and beginning the transition journey may connect first with a gender affirmation counselor. Then, the person turns to specialists in various fields, from plastic surgeons and hormone therapists to hair transplant professionals and experts in orthotropic.

It’s a good way to get the latest, most relevant information about procedures and practices that may benefit them. Since the field is advancing rapidly, the most recent information is vital.

To get the best possible results, clients may coordinate a broad blueprint of treatments and surgeries to help achieve their goals. 

Masculinization Surgery Walkthrough

What does the experience of facial masculinization surgery like for the typical patient, and what can someone expect as they begin the process from square one? 

Here’s an overview of the step-by-step process and what’s involved in terms of time, cost, comfort, and other key factors.

Consultation and Cost

As soon as a client determines their target areas and what they wish to achieve, they will reach out to a surgical specialist in that particular field for a consultation.

Some cosmetic surgeons are generalists and can perform several procedures in a single session, but more commonly, the client will be required to arrange separate consultations to get the full picture of what’s possible — along with expected costs and timeframes. 

This is where an experienced professional like Jae Pak, M.D., enters the picture. During a consultation, the client and physician will start a dialogue about the goals and parameters of the surgery. This will include the expectations and realities of the procedures and the likely cost of the procedure.

In general, the most expensive procedures involve the middle and lower third of the face, primarily and sculpting or reconfiguration of the cheeks, jaw, chin, Adam’s apple, or lips. These areas are not only more sensitive and prone to error, but they require more medical attention, technical capacity, recovery and follow-up, and general supervision with more staff.

The more drastic and ambitious the surgery (measured typically by the amount of tissue and surface area covered), the higher the overall cost will be. This is why facial masculinization surgeries can range so broadly in cost.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 for a small procedure to $20,000 or more for more complete transformations. Don’t skimp on experience to try to save money. An experienced surgeon is worth their weight in gold and can help you better achieve your goals.

Surgical Process

Each masculinization procedure follows a unique protocol based on the goals established in consultation. Procedures typically fall into one of two categories. They either add tissue or material volume to the area or remove and refine tissue to deemphasize the area or articulate an adjacent area of the face.

When adding tissue, surgeons may take existing fat from another area of the body, then isolate and mold it into a particular form before inserting it beneath the skin. This may occur along the jawline, on the chin, or elsewhere. Cartilage may also be used to add more definition to the Adam’s apple, the brow, or the nose.

Alternatively, soft tissue from the neck or jaw area may be removed in order to create a more defined and masculine structure. A leaner, more angular face creates the masculine appearance that many clients strive for. 

These types of procedures may take anywhere from a few hours to complete to a full day of surgery or multiple sessions over the course of a year. These are invasive procedures that require anesthesia and other pain reduction agents to keep patients comfortable before, during, and after surgery.

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Recovery and Outlook

Depending on the scope of the surgery, patients may choose to spend the night in the hospital or head home immediately to begin the recovery journey. Aftercare will be a part of the discussion with an experienced physician, so everyone will know what to expect.

In most cases, the patient will be wrapped in bandages with gauze to limit bleeding and keep newly defined features protected from outside elements. Patients will receive highly specific instructions to navigate the recovery process safely, including medications and necessary supplies to assist them.

As with most cosmetic procedures, patients will be advised to minimize stress and movement in the first week or so following surgery. They may be told to remain upright (at least a 45-degree angle) when sleeping to prevent fluid buildup in the affected area.

A follow-up meeting is usually held one month following surgery. Patients and the doctor will discuss progress, developments, and future plans of action.

Additional Treatments and Support

The plastic surgery component of facial masculinization surgery typically gets the most attention since these changes are most drastic and resource intensive. 

However, supplementary procedures do wonders to help with the overall transformation.

A less invasive option is to create a more masculine look around the mouth by adding facial hair such as a goatee, mustache or beard. This can be done at the same time you are creating a more masculine hairline through a hair transplant. 

Hair Transplantation 

Hair transplantation is an important step in the masculinization journey for anyone identifying as male. From minor FUE transplants to full-on strip surgery overhauls via FUT, many routes can lead to an ideal, masculine hairline. 

Patients should connect with hair restoration specialists like Dr. Jae Pak, M.D., who have years of direct experience with clients of all backgrounds and varying aesthetic goals. 

Beard Transplantation

Hormone therapy can only go so far in the development of facial hair for anyone struggling to grow a beard. Facial hair transplants are more advanced than ever, with transformative potential and permanent results. 

The Complete Approach to Masculinization

Achieving a strong, masculine look won’t happen overnight. It takes a mix of hormones, non-surgical treatments, and surgeries, as well as time and patience. 

But with a complete strategy in place and the patience to handle delayed gratification, patients can create a brand new look that lasts a lifetime. Request a consultation today to see how Dr. Jae Pak can help you meet your goals.

Sources:

Facial Masculinization Surgery | Cleveland Clinic

Facial Masculinization Surgery and its Role in the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria | NIH

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