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Transgender Surgeries Male-to-Female

9 Fascinating Facts About Transitioning From Male to Female

Transgender Surgeries Male-to-Female
Image Source: Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

Since Bruce Jenner debuted as Caitlyn on the cover of Vanity Fair, there has been a lot of talk about what transitioning from male to female really entails. Caitlyn revealed that on March 15, she underwent a 10-hour facial feminization surgery, which is a group of procedures that can morph masculine features into something more feminine. After waking up from the procedure, she told the magazine there was a moment of regret. She thought, "What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?" She also had a breast augmentation, hormone therapy, and tracheal shave. But what do all these surgeries really entail?

Honestly, we had some questions about the process ourselves! So we called up Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, a facial plastic surgeon in Boston who has done over a thousand procedures for his transgender clients, to help clarify these queries. So whether you are thinking about transitioning, know a transgender person, or are just curious about Caitlyn, you'll have the right information to be an ally!

First a vocabulary lesson is required. Transgender is more about gender identity than sexual orientation. It refers to who you are, not who you are attracted to. So a transgender woman is someone who was born a man but identifies as a woman inside (such as Caitlyn). It also works in the opposite way: a transgender man is a female-born person who identifies as a man (Chaz Bono, for example). A transgender person might wear different clothes, experiment with grooming routines, take hormones, and undergo surgery to make his or her outer appearance match his or her gender identity.

"A transgender woman knows she's a woman surely as you know you are a woman," Dr. Spiegel told me. "The problem a transgender woman has is that you don't see she's a woman. So the main goal is to make her facial appearance match her sense of self."

Every transgender person's journey is different. However, facial feminization surgery is typically one of the first considerations for someone looking to make a change. FFS can erase masculine features such as a strong jaw, prominent Adam's apple, or receding hairline. If all these procedures are done at once, it could take up to 10 hours on the operating table and cost up to $50,000. Continue reading to get the full spectrum of surgeries available to someone looking to undergo the male-to-female transition. While all of these are not required, each procedure serves to make a transgender woman feel more comfortable in her skin.

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