Chest and facial surgery for the transgender patient

Melody Scheefer Van Boerum, Ara A. Salibian, Rachel Bluebond-Langner, Cori Agarwal


In conjunction with social transition, hormones, and counseling, gender-affirming surgery (GAS) is a key component in the treatment gender dysphoria. Gender affirming surgeries can be divided into genital surgery (phalloplasty, metoidioplasty, oophorectomy, vaginoplasty, and orchiectomy) and non-genital surgeries. The non-genital surgeries for transmasculine individuals include chest masculinization and body contouring. For transfeminine individuals, they include breast augmentation, and facial feminization. Chest masculinization eliminates the need for binding and improves overall confidence and quality of life. Choice of technique depends on body habitus and patient preference. For transfeminine individuals, some breast growth can be achieved with the use of estrogen over the course of 1–2 years, but many still require breast augmentation for breasts that are proportionate to their frame. Facial surgery for transfeminine patients is highly effective in changing classic masculine anatomic features to feminine norms. The most common of these procedures include forehead contouring, rhinoplasty, lip lift, mandible angle reduction, genioplasty and chondrolaryngoplasty. These non-genital surgeries are critical to treating gender dysphoria in transgender and gender non-binary individuals. Further research with standardized and validated assessments of patient reported outcomes is needed to fully understand long term effects on quality of life and gender dysphoria.