How effective is facial feminization surgery? The effect of facial feminization surgery on your passing
Facial Feminization Surgery can act as a real catalyst for positive change. We were lucky enough to acquire data from 118 of our own patients to do a study on the effect of Facial Feminization Surgery on their passing. Since ‘being able to pass’ is the biggest goal that is reported amongst our patients, we wanted to see whether this is something that could truly be achieved.
How was the study performed?
- 118 patients filled out a survey before and a survey after their FFS. We accumulated and analysed this data (SPSS), and noted it was statistically relevant (P=0.000***). This means that the improvement (or not) in passing that was reported, could only be attributed to the surgery.
- We asked patients to grade their passibility, about whether or not they went out using make-up, whether or not they lived as a woman full time, etc.
- This data was collected between June 2014 and December 2015.
What are the 3 most important results of our study?
1. Good passing increased from 35% to 75% after facial feminization surgery
- These are the results of the question: “How would you grade your passability at this moment?” in the pre-operative stage, in comparison to the answers during the post-operative stage. As you can see, “good passing” increased from 35% to 75%. “Bad passing” dropped from 30% to 8%.
2. Need for heavy makeup reduced by 50%
- Another question was: “What kind of make-up do you need to be able to pass?” As you can see below, the level of make-up to achieve a feeling of passing greatly decreased after Facial Feminization Surgery. The amount of individuals needing heavy to medium makeup was reduced by over 50% after their FFS. The amount of people not using any makeup, more than doubled.
3. Never experienced any doubt increased from 15% to 35%
- One of the other questions we asked: “In recent times, how often did you feel people were doubting your gender?” also showed a very significant difference. The number of patients that never experienced that people were doubting their gender, doubled from 15% to 35% after the FFS. But it is important to note that the main cause for doubt is only half attributed to the face, and that body and especially voice are very important factors as well. And self-confidence is also a contributing factor.
What can we conclude from the results of this passibility survey?
The results undeniably show the positive effect of Facial Feminization surgery on passing. It can be concluded that FFS can be critical in helping trans women going about their everyday life without interference.
- Quote from one of our patients:
- “I still worry a bit about my passability because I got into a pattern of doing it, but that is fading away with time as everything that happens reinforces that I don’t need to. In fact the last time I came out to someone they refused to believe me and thought I was joking. I even got a lecture on how its not nice to make a joke out of being trans and trans people, which was very affirming.”
How would the clinic deal with an emergency if serious complications were to arise during the procedure?
We have had this situation 2 times in more than 700 surgeries. In case this would be because of a mistake from our side we have an insurance that covers the cost. More likely is that it happens without anyone having made a mistake. In that case most health insurances cover these costs. If you don’t have a health insurance it’s your (financial) risk.
All care in Antwerp is provided. In general no extra care is needed in your home country. Check-up with Dr Bart is after 4 months and can be in any city where Dr Bart van de Ven provides consultations.
How long will it take for the sensation in my face to return back to “normal”? What can be done to help?
Yes, we use very small titanium screws and plates which are never a problem for an MRI. Also the bonecement does not contain metal.
You can continue your HRT treatment before, during and after your FFS. You will receive an anti-thrombotic injection the day before surgery to prevent blood clotting. We prefer you to continue taking your hormones because FFS is emotionally already perturbing enough without messing with your hormone balance.
Only for implant surgery of the buttock and hips we ask to stop one week before the surgery. The day after surgery you can continue your HRT treatment. This because this type of surgery implies some immobilisation (obliged) after the surgery. In this case the risk for blood clots is higher.
Dr van de Ven will try to make your face as feminine as possible and there is no negative effect to your face becoming even more feminine after your FFS due to the hormones. Those last changes will be very subtle. Therefore Dr van de Ven does not see a reason to postpone FFS if you have only started taking hormones recently.
You still have another question? Feel free to ask! We will answer your question and if generally applicable add it to the FAQ of this page.