Deciding to undergo facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a powerful choice. For some AMAB trans folks who experience facial dysphoria, FFS can greatly improve one’s quality of life and overall sense of self. However, just like with any surgical procedure, facial feminization surgery requires a great deal of consideration in advance, including taking time off from work and other routine tasks in order to properly allow your body to heal.
As mentioned in the surgery overview, facial feminization surgery is comprised of multiple procedures located in four regions of the face: the upper third of the face, middle third, bottom third, and the neck. However, not all patients will ask for or be appropriate candidates for procedures in all of those areas, making the recovery time for FFS individualized for each patient.
The information below will outline the typical recovery for someone who has had procedures done in two of the three facial areas, meaning that recovery will likely take longer for a patient who has more procedures and will be shorter for a patient who has fewer procedures.
Generally speaking, patients will take 3-6 weeks off from work and 1-2 weeks off from normal daily routine tasks. This depends on the nature of the patient’s work, their motivation to get back to work in a certain time frame, as well as their emotional journey during the recovery process. Going back to work and re-engaging in a social life with major structural changes to the face can be incredibly challenging and should not be understated.
The incisions will mostly be closed by the two week post-op mark, although the scars will continue to heal and mature over the following 12-18 months. Similarly, the bruising will mostly be resolved, and post-operative pain will likely be reduced to discomfort that is manageable without narcotics in this time frame.
Read our pages on recovery milestones and risks and complications in the post-op section below to learn more about those topics.
Usually, employers are required to grant their employees a fair amount of time off for both surgery and recovery. Dr. Facque will provide all of his patients with a doctor’s note that includes the amount of time off required and any restrictions that will need to be accommodated once patients are able to return to work (the reason for surgery and the exact nature of the procedures performed will remain confidential).