A small, but tell-tale trait that distinguishes a male from a female is the laryngeal prominence in the throat, commonly known as the “Adam’s apple.” While some women may naturally develop a noticeable Adam’s apple, it is typically considered a male trait and can help transgender women look and feel more feminine. The Adam’s apple is simply extra cartilage that develops over the larynx (voice box) during puberty and creates a visible lump in the profile of the neck. An Adam’s apple reduction or tracheal shave at Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates in Oklahoma City carefully removes thin layers of cartilage without affecting the voice box. The reduced cartilage can cause the pitch of the voice to change. The amount of cartilage that can be safely removed varies in each patient, but after the tracheal shave surgery by cosmetic surgeons Dr. Erik Nuveen and Dr. Courtney Caplin, patients usually see a visible reduction in their Adam’s apple and a smoother neck profile.
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To perform a chondrolaryngoplasty, the plastic surgeon makes a small horizontal incision above the larynx and pulls back the neck muscles to reveal the thyroid cartilage. The surgeon will carefully shave thin layers of the cartilage until the projection is significantly reduced. The plastic surgeon will only remove as much cartilage as possible without injuring the vocal chords, so some patients may still have a slight protrusion, but the neck will be smoother after the procedure. Once the plastic surgeon has removed the cartilage, the neck muscles and skin will be stitched back together and cleaned before the surgical area is covered with bandages.
The tracheal shave is usually performed as an outpatient surgery with the patient under local or general anesthesia. The patient will be able to leave after the procedure to recover at home and will return for follow-up appointments at the plastic surgeon’s office. Patients should expect some bruising and swelling in their neck as well as mild pain and discomfort. Patients are advised to rest their voice as much as possible for at least three weeks after their surgery. Scar management therapy will be discussed by the plastic surgeon to help patients minimize their surgical scar during their recovery.
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Tracheal Shave FAQs
The vocal cords attach to the cartilage inside the larynx. If the vocal attachments are disrupted, the vocal register can change, but this will vary in each patient. There is a fine balance for the greatest reduction of cartilage and potential loosening of the vocal cords - which in some patients could undesirably lower the voice.
With good care during the healing process, the patient should have a minimal scar from their tracheal shave that is flat and blends into the normal skin. Patients can ask their plastic surgeon about scar care management tips and techniques, including creams and treatments that can be used to help the scar heal quickly and be less visible.
Why an Adam's apple?
While it’s scientific name is laryngeal prominence, most people refer to the lump of cartilage over the vocal chords as the Adam’s apple. This popular name comes from the story of Adam and Eve in the first book of The Bible, where Adam and Eve eat the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge and the apple got stuck in Adam’s throat, causing all men to develop an Adam’s apple.
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