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Besides the forehead and eye area, the most significant characteristic of a feminine face is the overall contour. Which is, to a large extent, determined by the shape of the jaw. A prominent lower jaw gives the face a square, masculine look. A look considered unattractive by many females. Jaw reduction, also called jaw shaving or jaw feminization surgery can be a good solution as part of your Facial Feminization Surgery.
Gender of the jaw
The male jawbone is usually heavier built and tends to be wider, because of the muscles attached to the corners of the jawbone being larger. Female jaw lines run in a gentle curve from the earlobe to the chin. In males, it tends to drop down straight from the ear and then turn at a sharp angle towards the chin, creating a square appearance.
Feminizing the jaw
Having a jaw reduction can reduce the appearance and size of the jaw, making it rounder and more narrow at the square corners near the back of the jaw bone. Usually, this jaw feminization is combined with chin recontouring to create a harmonious balance of these two adjacent areas.
Patients over the age of 40 may experience some loose skin around the jaw or chin after a jaw reduction. This can be tightened after the original jaw shave procedure with a lower face-lift.
- General anaesthesia—General anaesthesia is usually required for jaw feminization surgery.
- Incisions—Incisions are all made intraorally, so no scars will be visible on the outside.
- Micro-saw—Marked areas of prominent bone are cut with a micro-saw, curving down from back to front, to achieve a well-rounded contour.
- Stitching—The wound is closed with self-dissolving stitches.
- Hospitalization—Most patients will spend two nights in the hospital following jaw reduction.
- Swelling—Swelling is to be expected and varies greatly from person to person. A special mask will cool the surface of your face and keep bruising, swelling and pain to a minimum. The swelling usually lasts a significant amount of time with these procedures. Swelling and bruising will peak 2-3 days after surgery. It takes six weeks to 3 months for most of the obvious swelling to leave. On average it takes about 6 months for every last bit of swelling to go down.
- Numbness—Most women experience temporary numbness.
- Work and sports—If you don’t mind being seen with the swelling, you may be able to return to your social activities 7 to 10 days after the surgery. You will have to wait until the third or fourth week before doing any hard work or physical exercise.
- Stitches in the mouth—The stitches are self absorbable. They dissolve in about two weeks time.
- Infection—Infection is possible but rare.
- Numbness— Partial numbness of part of the jaw because of mental nerve damage (is rare but possible).
- Asymmetry—Even though the surgeon marks the areas he is going to operate very carefully, there may be asymmetries. These can always be corrected afterwards.
Frequently asked questions
What does this procedure cost?
You can find estimated prices here, after your consultation you will be informed of the exact prices of your operation. Prices are average and may vary depending on the exact treatment.
There are 3 options to receive a financial and operative proposal. You can either send us pictures and receive a quote and an FFS simulation, or you can book a Skype or a live consultation with Dr Bart van de Ven during which you will also receive a quote and FFS simulation. Click here if you want to get a general idea of FFS prices.
What happens if there are complications after the procedure and is this covered?
We will correct the complication if surgically possible, without charging any surgical fees. Hospital, material and traveling costs are for the expense of the patient.
Can I lose feeling (numbness) permanently in some areas following FFS surgery?
Some temporary numbness in any of the areas where bone work is done is an absolute certainty. That could include the scalp, forehead, chin, jaw or even cheek areas depending on where the surgery has been done. This happens because the soft tissue is detached from the bony area. Several thousand minor nerves are severed, and it will obviously take some while for those areas to heal. Up to 18 months of recovery time is not unusual, but it usually takes less time. You may not regain the same level of feeling as before.
Can I get this surgery if I’m a cis woman?
Yes, of course. We perform Facial Feminization Surgery on all women. Every woman is welcome at our clinic!
Is it safe for titanium screws staying inside my body for long term?
Yes it is. Two of the greatest benefits of titanium are its high strength-to-weight ratio and its corrosion resistance. Couple this with its non-toxic state and its ability to fight all corrosion from bodily fluids and it’s no wonder titanium has become the metal of choice within the field of medicine. Titanium is also incredibly durable and long-lasting. In principal they are not removed anymore and stay in the body. Only in case of an infection on the plates (rare) they will have to be removed. Another benefit to titanium for use in medicine is its non-ferromagnetic property, which allows patients with titanium implants to be safely examined with MRIs and NMRIs.
How long does it take for the final result to be visible and the bruises to disappear completely?
Recovery looks different for every patient, but bruising usually disappears after two to four weeks. The final result can be visible after a few months, but it may also take longer than a year. All information on recovering from FFS can be found on our recovery page.
Does bone grow back once it has been cut or shaved down?
In our experience no bone has ever grown back.
What happens with the stitches in my mouth?
They dissolve on their own in 5–7 weeks. They don’t have to be removed. If they would still be in your mouth after 7 weeks, you can easily remove them just by pulling on them, as they will immediately break due to the fact they will be mostly dissolved already.
Will the skin adapt to the new shape of the jaw?
The volume of the jaw and chin will be reduced and the swelling after this type of surgery can be massive. In a young patient with good elastic skin, the skin recuperates from all that stretching. If you are older, the skin will possibly not completely readapt to the new jaw shape resulting in a previously not existing sagging skin. That is why a lot of older FFS patients (late 30’s and older) may need a facelift. A facelift is best not performed at the same time as a jaw and chin recontouring because the result is suboptimal. We recommend at least 4 months between the two operations. The facelift helps enormously to show off the newly formed jaw and chin, resulting in a very female shape of the face.
Can a facelift be performed at the same time as a jaw angle reduction?
The swelling after a jaw angle reduction can be massive. That is why a facelift is best not performed at the same time as a jaw recontouring. The results will be suboptimal. We recommend at least 4 months between the two operations. The facelift helps enormously to show off the newly formed jaw and chin, resulting in a very female shape of the face.
When can I go back to a tanning bed after a chin and/or jaw recontouring
When all bruises have completely disappeared, after about 3 weeks approximately.
When fully healed will the jaw have the same strength as the previous jaw, or does having the jaw shaved make it permanently weak or prone to be damaged easier?
As only bone will be removed from the outside of the jaw and chin, which will give it a feminine shape, the jaw will be no weaker than the jaw and chin of a genetic woman. Real severe trauma would be necessary to break it. So there is no reason to worry. In case the chin needs to be advanced, the chin will be separated from the jaw and fixated with screws in its new position. In that case, the jaw will be weaker in the midline for a period of about 6 weeks. But the screw fixation is so strong that even in these cases a real trauma would be necessary to make the jaw break.
Can a chinplasty or jaw recountouring be performed when you have dental implants in that region?
Dental implants normally have a maximum length of 14mm. Natural teeth are longer. That’s why dental implants never create problems during a chinplasty or jaw recontouring.
Can dental implants still be inserted after a recontouring of jaw and chin?
The removal of bone will be done at the lower border of the jaw, far away from the teeth. So dental implants can be inserted after just as before.
Will I be able to eat?
If you haven’t had any treatment involving your teeth, a sliding genioplasty or orthognathic surgery, you’ll be able to eat normally quite soon. Due to the effects of general anesthesia, you should only feel nausea for the first few hours. You may prefer to eat softer or pureed foods initially if you have intra-oral sutures. Our catering service provides foods that are easy to ingest, to help you with that. After a sliding genioplasty, you should be very careful not to put too much force on the lower jaw e.g. by eating raw meat (steak) or by biting an apple. This should be avoided. The jaw is really weak in the chin area and it will take about 6 weeks until it has regained its original strength.
How many mm can the chin be put forward?
The maximum amount a chin can be put forward is about 8-10mm. But if you need this much, it’s probably the whole underjaw that is too far back, and you probably need orthognathic surgery.
With a chin height reduction is there significant sagging of the skin around the chin?
Of course there will be relatively more skin around the chin after a bony reduction of the chin. A hanging chin can however be avoided by meticulous suturing of the muscles of the chin and by wearing the facemask (for 1 week) that Dr van de Ven will provide you with after the surgery. The facemask gives strong upward support to the chin. If in spite of these measures, the skin is still sagging around the jaw and chin (this happens mostly in older patients with less elastic skin) one of the 3 types of facelifts that Dr van de Ven performs can bring the solution.
If I get a chin reduction, what will happen to the muscles? Will they be detached and repositioned?
The muscles on the outside of the chin will be detached before the chin bone reduction. After the surgery, the face mask that you will wear will push the muscles right back in position so they heal back to the bone.
How can I expect the feeling in my chin and lower lip to be after a chinplasty?
After a chinplasty, the feeling in the lower lip and chin is always disturbed. If the mental nerve (that comes out of the jawbone just behind the chin and then runs into the lower lip and skin of the chin) has not been ruptured during the surgery, for sure sensitivity will come back. It is not possible however to predict when and to which extent. Mostly the recovery will take between several weeks and several months but it can take up to even 2 years. It is normal that the sensitivity of the lower lip and chin doesn’t recover completely. If the mental nerve has been ruptured (in the hands of Dr Bart van de Ven less than 1%) it can be sutured. Of course, the prognosis will then be worse. Damage to the mental nerve will however not be visible to the outside world as it is a 100% sensory nerve. It doesn’t contain motor branches so the function of any muscle remains intact.
What about smoking?
As smoking counteracts wound healing we strongly advise against smoking during the 3 weeks before surgery until 3 weeks after surgery. Smoking dramatically increases the risk of skin necrosis and should be avoided at all times.
We are doing our very best to keep this information up-to-date. In case you see anything that no longer seems accurate, or in case you have a question, please fill out the form below!