Healing From Facial Feminization Surgery

This article was inspired by the personal accounts of some of Dr. Facque’s previous patients. Every person who undergoes surgery has a unique experience, and this article is intended for informational purposes only. 

A large part about preparing for surgery involves mentally and physically preparing for recovery. As with all surgeries, there are emotional ups and downs that follow facial feminization procedures. Here, we will discuss some of the common experiences that folks have had while healing from FFS. Read more about facial surgery recovery milestones here.

Changes in Sensation After FFS

Because all facial feminization procedures involve either contouring bone or manipulating soft tissues, cartilage, or skin, there are some changes in sensation to be expected while recovering from FFS. Often, patients will report feeling a tightness in their face that may take some getting used to. Face tightness is typically described as discomfort associated with moving certain areas of the face and the need to re-learn certain facial movements. This usually resolves around 1-2 months after surgery. 

Another common change in sensation has to do with hairline advancement. Because this procedure manipulates the nerves on the scalp, patients may experience numbness, tingling, phantom pains, or itchiness on the scalp or other areas of the face. Some patients find that using their fingers to put some light pressure on the scalp may alleviate some of the itchy and tingling feelings, but it’s important not to disrupt the healing process by rubbing or scratching your incision areas as they heal.

Physical Exhaustion After Surgery

As you might expect, undergoing any surgical procedure that involves anesthesia is a quite rigorous experience for the body. Therefore, you should expect to feel some amount of physical exhaustion in the first couple weeks after surgery. Small tasks, like walking to the bathroom, taking a sponge bath, or getting the mail might be much more tiring after surgery than you are used to, so we recommend setting up adequate post-op support to help reduce any physical exertion.

Emotional Journey After FFS

It’s common for patients to experience mental health dips while the body recovers from facial surgery. This is because patients are limited in their mobility, energy, and sometimes visibility after surgery, which might force them to rely more heavily on others than they have previously. If you experience low mental health points after surgery, know that it is normal. Some of these resources might be helpful for you in seeking support after surgery.

Other factors that may cause a temporary dip in mental health might be any residual nausea from the anesthesia or pain medication (which usually resolves 1-2 days after surgery) and feelings of boredom during recovery. Again, these experiences should be temporary.

Recovering from surgery can be exciting, too! Usually, about 1-2 months after surgery, patients notice that their mental health begins to increase, and sometimes elevates beyond what it might have been before surgery. In other words, while recovering from surgery might cause some low points in the short term, facial feminization surgery might have the power to increase a patient’s overall mental health in the long term. As always, we recommend connecting with Dr. Facque to learn more about what facial feminization could mean for you and how we might be able to help improve your experiences with gender euphoria through facial surgery.