Body contouring for gender-affirming care refers to a set of surgical procedures that are often used to alter the appearance of a person’s body to better align with their gender identity. These procedures can be performed on various body parts, including the chest, hips, thighs, and buttocks to make them appear more traditionally feminine or masculine, depending on the patient’s goals.
Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, but it can be difficult when you’re unhappy with the shape of your own body. This can be even more difficult for trans patients whose bodies don’t match their gender identity.
While weight loss, exercise, and hormone therapy can greatly improve your body image and self-esteem, it isn’t always enough. That’s where body contouring surgery comes in.
Body contouring can create a more masculine or feminine body shape through liposuction and fat grafting. The precise techniques used will depend on the patient. Trans women, trans men, and nonbinary people tend to have different appearance goals and may need varying procedures to achieve their desired outcomes.
As a board-certified plastic surgeon and member of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) and USPATH (United States Professional Association for Transgender Health), I help transgender patients seeking gender-affirmation surgery.
The goal of body feminization is to create curves and soften body features. Society associates curves and a more hourglass shape with femininity.
Over time, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — especially estrogen — will change where your body stores fat. Your body will start storing fat in areas such as the breasts, buttocks, and thighs. If that isn’t cutting it, plastic surgery procedures can redistribute fat and alter body contours with more control.
Body contouring for patients transitioning from male to female can include just one or a combination of the following body contouring procedures:
Commonly referred to as a BBL, a Brazilian Butt Lift creates a larger or more defined derrière without implants. BBLs are popular with both cisgender and transgender women as a “two-in-one” procedure.
Using liposuction, I can remove fat from strategic areas of the body (such as the waist), purify that fat, and inject it into the buttocks. This lets us create a trimmer waistline and curvier hips and butt. Because the augmentation is being performed with fat from your own body, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction.
Liposuction is a very common surgical procedure for body contouring, especially when combined with fat transfer. With advanced liposuction techniques, I can remove excess fat from the abdomen, waist, and arms to enhance the hips, buttocks, or thighs. Fat transfer is also useful for breast augmentation if you want a small boost.
The only real difference between a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) for male patients and a tummy tuck for female patients is the final contouring. A tummy tuck removes excess tissue and skin to create a flatter, more toned stomach.
For my female patients, I aim for a trim waistline with softer contours as opposed to a square male waist.
As the name suggests, body masculinization surgery aims to create a more traditionally masculine appearance. We associate curves and a more hourglass figure with the female body, while male bodies are usually more straight or square.
This step in the FTM transgender body contouring process creates a flatter, more toned abdomen. Estrogen contributes to fat storage and can make weight loss difficult. Over time, hormone therapy will change how your body distributes fat. But if that isn’t enough, abdominoplasty (commonly known as a “tummy tuck”) can help.
A tummy tuck removes excess skin, fat, and tissue from the abdomen. This procedure can sculpt a more toned, narrow, masculine abdomen. This can help create a more V-shaped torso or make a straight line from the shoulders to the hips (a more “masculine” shape).
Liposuction removes fat deposits through small incisions; lipo sculpting removes smaller amounts of fat, sculpting more masculine body contours. Both procedures can be combined with fat transfer — the removed fat is purified and injected into other body parts.
For trans men, this generally involves removing fat from the hips, thighs, abdomen, and buttocks to square out the chest and shoulders. This creates thinner, more masculine hips and thighs and a more V-shaped torso (broad shoulders and slim waist).
Some nonbinary people seek gender affirmation surgery to achieve a more androgynous appearance or just to look less like their assigned gender at birth. The procedures included will depend on the individual patient’s specific needs but may include the following:
Step one of any plastic surgery is a consultation. We’ll review your medical history, appearance goals, and any past or ongoing treatments (such as HRT) during your consultation. Hormone therapy can cause major physical changes over time, so I take that into consideration when developing your treatment plan.
Once we’ve reviewed your goals, I will go over the procedures that will achieve the best results. We will also discuss expected outcomes and potential risks; it is important to me that you have realistic expectations and make a fully-informed decision.
On the day of your surgery, you’ll be put under general anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. Depending on your treatment plan, I will either perform all agreed-upon cosmetic surgery procedures during one session, or we will split your surgeries over multiple visits with recovery time in between.
Your surgery will be outpatient, meaning you can go home the same day. However, you will need a friend or family member to drive you home.
You will be sent home in a special compression garment to reduce swelling and with written post-op instructions. Your exact recovery time will depend on which procedures you have, but you will have to avoid strenuous activity or exercise for a few weeks at least.
Different insurance companies have different policies on what gender-affirming care they cover. Generally, health insurance will cover surgeries performed to treat gender dysphoria but will not cover purely cosmetic procedures.
Check with your insurance provider to see what surgeries are considered “medical” versus “elective” and what requirements or authorization they require.
An expert in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Sepideh Saber offers a more compassionate female perspective on cosmetic surgery. She proudly serves the LGBTQ+ community and understands the importance of access to gender-affirming care.
Scheduled your consultation with Dr. Saber today. Call us at (877) 205-4100 or schedule a consultation online.
The practice of Dr. Saber is located in Encino, CA, for patients throughout the Los Angeles area. We are also convenient to Encino, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Burbank, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills, Northridge, North Hollywood, Malibu, Topanga, Canoga Park, Reseda, Valley Glen, Chatsworth, West Hills, Winnetka, Universal City, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, Silverlake, and Echo Park.
I was fortunate to find Dr. Saber after researching board-certified surgeons who specialize in breast cancer reconstruction revision surgery. I knew I was in good hands from the moment I spoke with the lovely and efficient Marlene, Dr Saber's office manager. Dr Saber patiently listened to my concerns and, after examining me, explained what I could realistically expect the outcome to be from another surgery. She also explained to me that she would need to review my previous surgery notes before we could discuss a possible further surgery, which I found comforting and highly ethical. I also discussed a couple of other procedures that I would like done, including fat removal from my large upper arms that had caused me great embarrassment for several years. Dr. Saber is an excellent surgeon who is incredibly kind and genuine. She truly understands the female body and the emotional aspect of body insecurities yet, she is transparent about what can and cannot be done and takes time to discuss realistic expectations and outcomes. My breast reconstruction revision surgery will take place in the New Year, but in the meantime, I have the most fabulous upper arms that I recently flaunted in a strapless dress (something I have not done in years). Dr Saber is truly one of a kind, and I still cannot believe how fortunate I am to have found her. I highly recommend Dr Saber.
I don’t have enough wonderful words to describe Dr Saber and Marlene! I had a tummy tuck done this year and from start to finish the entire experience was amazing. Marlene is always so helpful and works so hard to make every detail a breeze for you. When I had my consultation with Dr Saber I was at a point of complete agony with my body. She instantly took that stress and frustration off my shoulders! As a woman not being heard by doctors for years I left that consultation with happy tears knowing I had finally found my Dr. It was a major surgery and I felt completely zen and at peace going in because she really does make you feel that safe. I didn’t think I would ever look the way I do now! She gave me the gift of having the body I kept fighting for. I will never stop recommending her.
I saw Dr. Saber when I broke my wrist. I ended up having to have surgery. She did an excellent job and I am healing nicely. She was very professional, but was also very kind and compassionate. I would highly recommend her!!
I LOVED DR SABER!!! There are a few reasons why I chose her. One was because she’s a female Doctor that was my goal who also did a good job (which I was able to confirm with all her before and after photos) and what sold me was my safety in mind. She made me feel like I was in the best hands ever along with Marlene who coordinated everything THANK YOU LADIES! Dr Saber helped me get back the body I have always desired. I had a lot of stomach fat from weight gain and I lost weight so a lot of my weight was in my front lower and upper abdomen. Now I have a super beautiful curvy body like an hourglass after a tummy tuck and lipo she did. She understood the assignment hahaha . I’m 32 years old no kids just wanted to enjoy my younger body looking and feeling beautiful and she really took good care of me. Even after hours I had an emergency due to my fault but she was there and got back to me very quickly and I’m very grateful. I also think her work says a lot because I stopped taking pain medication on the 3rd day after surgery and was fine with very minimal pain I was able to tolerate the healing process. Highly recommend going with her I just had a wonderful experience and would do it all over again if I had too. Maybe after I have kids. Thanks Dr Saber and team <3
Dr.Saber is by far one of the best plastic surgeons. I love how she takes her time to explain any procedure to the patients understanding. She always makes sure to answers any and all questions.From fillers to body contours she’s the one you want.
Dr Saber is amazing! She is caring and very informative. I went in for fillers and she explained procedure step by step. I highly recommend her and look forward to future visits.
Dr. Saber was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. She took time to listen, answer all my questions and was forthright in her recommendations. Her staff was friendly and helpful. I was very happy with the results and plan on going back. If you are looking for a first rate professional experience look no further she is the doctor for you!
Dr. Saber is one of a kind plastic surgeon with a heart of gold. She is a well verse plastic surgeon that puts her patient's needs before anything else. She genuinely cares about every single patient, and her work speaks for itself. I notice every post-operative result on her Instagram (@saberplasticsurgery) the patients have this glow that radiates through. I have been going to Dr. Saber for my Botox for the past 3 years, and love the results every time. I know who I will be going to for any future plastic surgery needs, and will confidently refer family and friends to Dr. Saber for any Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery consultations.
I have nothing but great things to say about Dr. Saber! I am so pleased with my results from a breast augmentation she performed on me back in late June! She answered all my questions and concerns before and after my surgery. She’s very easy to get in contact with and she’s so nice. She made feel so comfortable throughout the whole process. 100/10 Lover her work!!
Dr Saber is hands down the best surgeon! She took her time answering my questions and explained procedure in detail. After doing liposuction six months ago, I am extremely happy with my results and I appreciate her so much.
Dr. Saber is so kind and thorough with her patients! She is an amazing doctor and genuinely cars about everyone she comes in contact with. I would recommend her to anyone for any hand surgery or cosmetic procedure.