Media attention given to the open transition of Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner, and to high-profile transgender celebrities such as Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, Jenna Talackova, Gigi Gorgeous, and others has raised national awareness for the challenges faced by transgender individuals.

The face is the primary means by which we determine many characteristics of a person, including age, attractiveness, familiarity, emotional state, and gender. Thus, facial plastic surgeons have a unique ability to help transgender individuals to present themselves in the manner most consistent with their sense of self.

According to Jeffrey H. Spiegel, MD, a Boston-based facial plastic surgeon and member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), gender affirmation surgery has been shown to actually improve an individual’s quality of life.

In a 2010 study, Spiegel found that surgical treatments (such as Facial Feminization Surgery) are associated with improved mental health-related quality of life for trans patients. Where transgendered women without surgical intervention show diminished mental health-related quality of life, those who undergo facial feminization surgery had improved quality of life scores compared to those seen in the general female population.

“This is extremely significant for us as surgical subspecialists,” says Scott Chaiet, MD, a Memphis, Tenn-based facial plastic surgeon and moderator of the first transgender education panel, which took place recently during the AAFPRS’ Annual Fall Meeting in Nashville.

“Gender-affirming surgery goes beyond changing what we see on the surface. It’s more than simply reducing a prominent forehead, softening a jawline, or sculpting cheekbones. We have the important power to positively affect the lives and confidence of these individuals,” he adds.

[Source: KELZ PR]