The high profile gender transition of Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce) has sparked an increased interest in facial feminisation surgery (FFS) – one of our areas of expertise here at Ocean Clinic Marbella.
Former Olympic gold-medal-winning male track star, Jenner hit the headlines in June when she débuted her new look on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. She was rumoured to have undergone a number of facial feminisation surgeries.
What is facial feminisation surgery?
FFS (also called gender reaffirmation surgery) is a set of reconstructive surgical procedures that alter typically male facial features to bring them closer in shape and size to typical female facial features. While most FFS patients are transsexual women, feminisation surgery is also carried out on women who feel that their faces are too masculine.
What parts of the face are changed during FFS?
FFS focuses on the characteristics that typically make male and female faces readily distinguishable. Studies show that we determine a person’s sex within a millisecond of seeing their face.
Features that help us make this assessment include the chin - which is more pointed in females - the jawbone, and the nose, which are both generally less prominent and less angular in women.
The shape of the forehead, too, is quite different in males from females. To give a more feminine appearance we are able to contour the bones of these features.
Another distinct male characteristic - the Adam’s apple – can be reduced with a tracheal shave.
FSS also includes soft tissue procedures such as brow lift, neck lift, canthoplasty (eye reshaping), cheek implants and lip augmentation, as well as non-surgical treatments like Botox, fillers and skin resurfacing.
Not all of the above procedures will typically be carried out. The surgeon will help the patient to select a bespoke suite of treatments tailored to their individual requirements.
What procedures has Caitlyn Jenner undergone?
It is not a matter of public record, however, surgeons have speculated that Caitlyn has had a brow lift, cheek implants, Adam's apple shave and Botox, among other facial rejuvenation treatments.
Can any cosmetic surgeon carry out FFS?
Facial feminisation surgeries that include reconstruction of the hard tissues of the head, face and jaws (i.e. bone) are a surgical specialty.
This type of surgery is known as Oral & Maxillofacial surgery (OMS). Ocean Clinic Marbella is one of the few cosmetic surgery clinics on the Costa del Sol to have an Oral & Maxillofacial Unit and attracts FFS patients from around the globe.
The unit is headed up by Dr. Luis Capitán, who is an acclaimed specialist in facial sculpting and facial feminisation surgery, having performed hundreds of procedures.
Dr Capitán has specialised in this field since receiving his degree in oral and maxillofacial surgery in 2006. His extensive experience has been gained at the Maxillofacial and Implantology Institute of the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona, the Craniofacial and Dental Facial Deformities Unit at Morriston University Hospital of Wales and the Oral and Maxillofacial Department at the USP Hospital Marbella.
He is also a director and founder of Facial Team Europe, a surgical group of specialists in facial feminisation based in Spain and Brazil. The team is responsible for pioneering new concepts and advancement in FFS and is regarded as a world leader.
Generally, how satisfied are patients with the results of FFS?
A 2010 study amongst 247 trans women, found that those who had undergone FFS reported having a higher mental health-related quality of life than those who had not.
The results achieved will differ from patient to patient depending on their individual facial structure, however today’s FFS techniques are the most effective approach for transitioning a male face into a convincing, natural-looking, female one.
Combined with make-up, hairpieces, hormone therapy and voice training, FSS can help create the complete picture of femininity for transgender patients.
See the results for yourself here, and view more before and after photos of facial feminisation surgeries carried out by Dr Capitán as part of Facial Team Europe.