Prospective Quality-of-Life Outcomes after Facial Feminization Surgery: An International Multicenter Study

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020 Jun;145(6):1499-1509. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000006837.


Background: No data exist on the prospective outcomes of facial feminization surgery. This study set out to determine the effects of facial feminization surgery on quality-of-life outcomes for gender-diverse patients.

Methods: A prospective, international, multicenter, cohort study with adult gender-diverse patients with gender dysphoria was undertaken. Facial feminization outcome score was calculated preoperatively and postoperatively (1-week to 1-month and >6 months). Photogrammetric cephalometries were measured at the same time points. Self-perceived preoperative masculinity and femininity were recorded. Externally rated gender appearance (scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being most feminine) and general aesthetics (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being very good) for 10 facial feminization surgery patients were compared with those of five cisgender controls. Univariate linear regression analyses were used to predict outcomes from facial feminization surgery.

Results: Sixty-six consecutive patients were enrolled. Patients noted that their brows, jaws, and chins were the most masculine aspects of their faces (54.5 percent, 33.3 percent, and 30.3 percent, respectively). Median facial feminization outcome score increased from 47.2 preoperatively to 80.6 at 6 months or more postoperatively (p < 0.0001). Mean satisfaction was excellent (3.0 at both 1-month and ≥6-month follow-up; p = 0.46). Cephalometric values were significantly more feminine after surgery. Gender appearance was feminine to very feminine (1.83 ± 0.96) and general aesthetics were good (6.09 ± 2.01) but different from those of cisgender women controls (1.25 ± 0.49 and 7.63 ± 1.82, respectively; p < 0.001 for each).

Conclusion: Facial feminization achieved improved quality of life, feminized cephalometries, feminine gender appearance, good overall aesthetics, and high satisfaction that were present at 1 month and stable at more than 6 months.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Face / surgery*
  • Female
  • Femininity
  • Gender Dysphoria / psychology
  • Gender Dysphoria / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Reassignment Surgery / methods*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology