Not everyone wants a prominent Adam’s apple but, ironically, reduction surgery carries a risk of permanent voice changes if it’s too aggressive. Nevertheless, a new study finds that surgery to reduce the appearance of the Adam’s apple has a high patient satisfaction rate.
Also called “tracheal shaving,” the procedure is popular among both men and women, particularly transgender women. For them it’s part of a series of “facial feminization” procedures.
The procedure involves reducing the most prominent part of the thyroid cartilage. Ideally, the surgeon would completely remove the forward-projecting cartilage. However, if surgery is too aggressive, there’s a risk that the larynx and vocal cords could be affected, resulting in permanent voice changes.
“This is particularly devastating in transgender females, in whom lowering the voice can be especially traumatic and a difficult handicap to overcome,” wrote Dr. Jeffrey H. Spiegel. “The aesthetic results must be balanced with the goal of minimizing the risk of over-resection and voice change.”
About the study
Spiegel and colleagues at Boston University Medical Center conducted the study, published in the official open-access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The researchers created a seven-item questionnaire to assess physical, emotional, and social quality of life after the procedure. The researchers contacted Dr. Spiegel’s first 112 patients, 45 of whom responded to the questionnaire.
Sixty percent of patients indicated that they were “very” or “completely” satisfied with the appearance of their neck and Adam’s apple. Only 13 percent said that they were “not at all” satisfied; 15 percent felt that the results limited their social or professional appearance.
About 55 percent of patients felt that the appearance of their neck/Adam’s apple was the “best that it could be,” while only 25 percent said they were interested in further surgery. None of the patients experienced any long-term voice changes.