'It's hard to look female': Boom in feminisation surgery as transgender women put the finishing touch on their sex changes
15:08 GMT, 15 March 2012
Gender reassignment therapy is not a new phenomenon but a recent rise in demand for an elective surgery, referred to as 'feminisation', is adding another dimension to the process of the sex change.
Dr Jeffrey Spiegal, chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University Medical Center, says business is booming thanks to the
increase of information online and awareness among the transgender
community that medical help can take their transformation one step
Referring to his work as
'gender-confirming surgery', the cosmetic surgeon said that even after sex-reassignment therapy, 'it's
hard to look female'.
Ladylike: Sarah, 50, underwent 'feminisation surgery', a procedure on the rise among transgender men and woman who want to fully realise their physical transformation from one gender to the other
Face change: According to Dr Spiegal of Boston Medical Center, 'it's hard to look female' which is why his surgeries are gaining popularity among those whose sex reassignment therapy was not enough
Calling himself 'the best' in feminisation
surgery, Dr Spiegal explained to ABC News that the objective of his practice is to fully
realise the small physical changes that will make a person feel true to
his or herself.
Since 2004 he has performed more than 500 cosmetic surgeries on patients from the United States and beyond using procedures that he has studied from all over the world.
From jaw-narrowing techniques from
Asia to lip, scalp and eye shadowing, the transformation from man to
woman is more challenging than the reverse, he explained.
to Dr Speigal, humans have a 'gut' reaction to whether a person is male
or female and they are usually accurate because their instinct is based
on subtle details that inherently distinguish a man from a woman.
Feminine ideal: Dr Spiegal says plastic surgery has changed the way we view beauty and femininity is far more subtle than whether a woman has hair or a moustache
The old ideals of feminine beauty are 'outdated and the tenets are not accurate,' he said. 'Plastic surgery has completely changed what we think about beauty.'
These days, 'if you see a woman who has a shaved head like Sinead O'Connor or a woman undergoing chemotherapy, you don't look and say, “There's a man,” but “There's a bald woman,”' he continued.
The first and most obvious alteration
is to the shape of the eyebrow. Where a woman's brow is arched and
peaks at the edge, a man's is flatter and closer to the eye.
Then attention is directed at the jawline and the hairline and the placement of the lips on the face.
Cosmetic genius: Dr Spiegal is the chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University Medical Center where he has performed over 500 feminisation surgeries since 2004
Facial feminisation surgery can carry a hefty price tag, ranging from a two thousand dollars for a simple procedure to $25,000 to $35,000 and is not covered by health insurance.
But one patient of Dr Speigal's who went by the name of Chloe for the interview with ABC told the reporter that after a turbulent transition of becoming a woman, the surgery she sought from the Boston doctor changed her life.
'No one even questions my gender,' she said. 'It's amazing what a few millimeters can do.'
And for another patient who called herself Sarah, the perks were twofold.
'I am 50 and people think I am 35,' she enthused.