Caitlyn Jenner’s Debut Puts the Spotlight on Transgender Surgery and the Feminine Ideal
Celebrity plastic surgery is not exactly a new media topic. We see tabloid headlines every single day speculating about who has had what done – but if there’s one story that leaves little to question in terms of whether or not something has in fact been altered, it would be the remarkable transformation of Bruce to Caitlyn.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen/heard about Caitlyn Jenner’s debut.
Bruce Jenner, a gold medal Olympic athlete, has emerged as Caitlyn – a confident, radiant beauty ready to conquer just about anything at the age of 65. Once the patriarch of the Kardashian clan, Caitlyn now graces the cover of Vanity Fair as a woman with every intention of unabashedly turning heads.
Is this coming out a publicity stunt? Is she genuinely torn between her own identity and trying to bring awareness to the transgender community? Given that the Kardashian family is notoriously in the headlines, it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is staged. Regardless of what may or may not be the motivation, Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, opened up to the public about the struggles she was facing with herself, struggles that certainly bring a lot of issues to the forefront, including gender, identity and beauty.
While transgender surgery is not new, it is a relatively new subject for mainstream media, in large part due to Caitlyn Jenner’s very public unveiling. As a result, people want to know what procedures have to be performed to transition from one gender to another. Certainly, in Caitlyn’s case, some of the procedures are quite obvious including breast augmentation with implants. Others might not be as readily apparent, such as liposuction, facelift, neck lift, eyelid lift, and possibly either Botox or a surgical browlift. In order to make the features less masculine, she may have also benefited from facial feminization surgery (recontouring the bones of the face such as jawline, chin, or forehead). Rhinoplasty was also most likely done in the past. To appear more feminine, fillers (or fat grafting) of the cheekbones, laugh lines, and lips could be necessary. Caitlyn is probably now on an effective skincare regimen that has retextured her skin, either by doing a chemical peel or laser surfacing as well as laser hair removal from her body and face, and a slew of medical-grade skin care products (retinol, skin lightener, etc.). Caitlyn likely adjusted her endocrine system internally by taking medications to boost estrogen levels and decrease testosterone, which helped produce more feminine facial features as well as more natural breast tissue. Gender reassignment surgery could be in the future as well, depending on whether or not Caitlyn decides to pursue it.
That is a lengthy laundry list of procedures – a lot for anyone to handle mentally and financially, let alone someone working towards changing genders. That all being said, I have not personally treated Caitlyn, (but from what I understand she has an excellent team of surgeons), and the public needs to be aware that there are many factors involved in transitioning from a man to a woman or vice-versa – not just the superficial aspects, but the psychological and endocrinologic aspects since this type of transition calls for a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals. Most surgeons require that a man live and dress as a woman for one to two years before performing genital transgender surgery. Further, health-related issues including urologic function are at play and all of these must be taken seriously if anyone is considering transgender surgery.
As an aesthetic plastic surgeon, I must say that Caitlyn looks fantastic and I wish her all the best in her newfound femininity.