For the last several months, we’ve seen and heard a lot about transgender women—particularly, of course, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner. I’ve been asked to comment regarding this story in a number of television and radio outlets with interviewers who ranged from misinformed and threatened, to welcoming but ignorant regarding how to understand the experiences of transgender women.
Exceptional care of transgender men and women begins with an understanding that they experience their sense of gender as strongly as do you or I. Transgender men and women know exactly who they are. While rational people can argue over whether the public transition of Caitlyn Jenner is a significant sports or news event, it is nonetheless courageous for a transgender woman to openly express her true self and face the challenges of living as a woman who in many ways (at least at the outset) may look like a man.
For a facial plastic surgeon, the care of a transgender woman represents an opportunity to use all of their medical and surgical skills. Proper facial analysis with regard to gender-confirming features requires open eyes evaluating all aspects of an individual’s face. Frontal cranioplasty, laryngoplasty, mandibuloplasty, genioplasty, and significant reductive rhinoplasty necessitate mastery of the breadth of our field. And, importantly, helping a transgender woman to have comfort, dignity, and even joy during the facial-feminization process permits each of us to be the best kind of physician.
Kudos to PSP for staying on top of the important relevant medical developments in the care of transgender women. We can always count on your publication to be first and in the forefront of plastic surgery news.
Jeffrey H. Spiegel, MD, FACS
Advanced Facial Aesthetics
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467