A Review of Hand Feminization and Masculinization Techniques in Gender Affirming Therapy

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2021 Apr;45(2):589-601. doi: 10.1007/s00266-020-01963-0. Epub 2020 Sep 30.


Introduction: Anatomical characteristics that are incongruent with an individual's gender identity can cause significant gender dysphoria. Hands exhibit prominent dimorphic sexual features, but despite their visibility, there are limited studies examining gender affirming procedures for the hands. This review is intended to cover the anatomical features that define masculine and feminine hands, the surgical and non-surgical approaches for feminization and masculinization of the hand, and to adapt established aesthetic hand techniques for gender affirming care.

Methods: The authors performed a comprehensive database search of PubMed, Embase OVID and SCOPUS to identify articles on the characterization of masculine or feminine hands, hand treatments related to gender affirmation, and articles related to techniques for hand masculinization and feminization in the non-transgender population.

Results: From 656 possibly relevant articles, 42 met the inclusion criteria for the current literature search. There is currently no medical literature specifically exploring the surgical or non-surgical options for hand gender affirmation. The available techniques for gender affirming procedures discussed in this paper are appropriated from those more commonly used for hand rejuvenation.

Conclusion: There is a dearth of literature addressing the options for transgender individuals seeking gender affirming procedures of the hand. Though established procedures used for hand rejuvenation may be utilized in gender affirming care, further study is required to determine relative salience of various hand features to gender dysphoria in transgender patients of various identities, as well as development of novel techniques to meet these needs.

Level of evidence iii: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266. .

Keywords: Gender affirming care; Gender dysphoria; Hand aesthetics; Hand surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Feminization
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Transsexualism* / surgery