Surgery to Reduce a prominent Adam’s Apple – known as a Tracheal Shave or Layrngoplasty
Firstly, nothing is shaved, and the trachea is not operated upon!
Are you considering a tracheal shave, i.e., surgery to reduce the prominence of your Adam’s apple? If so, you’ve probably come across different yet confusing info. Dr Stephen Kleid is the leading surgeon in Australia performing this procedure, which is why the brief surgery guide below can help you out. Read on to learn more about a tracheal shave, its benefits, risks, course of the procedure, recovery, and everything else you should know.
What is a Tracheal Shave?
Chondrolaryngoplasty, also known as tracheal shave, is a procedure to reduce the prominence of the thyroid cartilage by trimming the cartilage and bone through a small incision on the neck (beneath the chin) to decrease the prominence of the Adam’s Apple. It is a common surgical procedure in the facial feminization process, which is why it is popular among patients who are transitioning from male to female gender. It is also performed on men and women who are cis-gender, and have Adam’s Apple prominence they are unhappy with. The size of Adam’s apple may make a person feel insecure due to the lack of feminine features. Tracheal shave poses as the most practical solution for long-term results and confidence boost.
Although it may seem like a modern procedure that developed only recently, trachea shave was initially described back in 1975, while further modifications to the original technique were described in 1990. For instance, Israeli surgeons have developed an approach that will allow patients to reduce the size of Adam’s apple without getting an incision under the chin, but this method is still in the early stages of development (they use an incision inside the mouth).
Am I a candidate for Adam’s Apple reduction surgery?
The candidate for Adam’s apple reduction is a person in the process of male-to-fame transition. That is why the procedure is also referred to as MTF Adam’s apple surgery. But, this is not exclusive. A good candidate is also a woman or man who wants Adam’s apple reduction in cases when the prominence impairs their confidence and thereby the quality of life. This is especially a problem for people with long thin necks. Additionally, a good candidate also understands the procedure and has realistic expectations.
What are the benefits of Adam’s apple reduction?
The benefits of trachea shave are numerous, including:
- Smoother, more graceful appearing neck and throat
- Natural feminine profile, or just an Adam’s Apple that doesn’t stick out.
- Confidence boost
- Helping a trans-feminine person feel more comfortable
What can I expect during Tracheal Shave?
You will receive instructions on what to do before the actual procedure. For example, if you smoke or vape, you will need to stop for at least several days before the surgery. Remember, smoking slows wound healing. Additionally, if you’re taking aspirin or other medications that may cause bleeding or inhibit blood clotting, you will be instructed to stop taking them. For this reason, it is important, to be honest with the surgeon during the consultation. You should feel free to talk about your health condition, lifestyle habits, or medications you are taking.
General anaesthesia is necessary for Adam’s apple reduction. When you’re under anaesthesia, the surgeon will make a small, horizontal incision in the skin crease under the jaw or chin. The surgeon trims down the thyroid cartilage prominence (part of it is often bony) . Dr Kleid closes the incision with buried dissolving sutures, and applies a light skin dressing.
The procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
Since the incision is located in the crease below the chin, the post-operative scar is less visible. Moreover, the scar doesn’t adhere to the underlying cartilage, and it won’t move as you speak or swallow food.
Recovery after Laryngoplasty
For safety, I keep patients in hospital overnight, or at least 8 hours if they have no Insurance, to observe for intra-laryngeal swelling and breathing difficulties. .
There are no special post-operative instructions, apart from keeping the dressing dry for 3 days, then you may shower and get it wet.
There is no change in voice (except sometimes a mild gruffness for a few weeks). It is not particulary painful – a bit sore to swallow.
Soft foods might be required.
Results of this surgery will be visible almost immediately, through the dressing. Patient satisfaction with this procedure is high.
Adam’s Apple Surgery FAQs – Frequently asked questions about Laryngoplasty Surgery
How can I reduce my prominent Adam’s apple?
- You can reduce Adam’s apple with laryngoplasty – also called “tracheal shave surgery”.
Why do I have Adam’s apple if I’m a girl?
- The truth is that males and females alike develop Adam’s apple, but it is more prominent in men. The increased prominence of Adam’s apple in men is due to a larger larynx that grows during male puberty, due to Testosterone. The vocal cords lengthen, the voice might “break’, and it becomes deeper.
Does the size of your Adam’s apple mean anything?
- No. The size of Adam’s apple varies from one person to another. Bigger Adam’s apple simply means some people develop a larger voice box than others. Generally speaking, persons with a larger Adam’s apple tend to have a deeper voice. This explains why women usually don’t have an as deep voice as men do.
Are big Adam’s apples attractive?
- Big Adam’s apples and deeper voices in men are attractive to some women. Keep in mind there is no universal rule for attractiveness. Different people are attracted to different things.
Why is my Adam’s apple swollen?
- Adam’s apple may appear swollen due to goitre i.e. an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goitre is located in the neck, just below Adam’s apple. The most common symptoms of goitre are tension and tightness in the throat. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing and/or swallowing and swelling in the front of the throat and neck. That’s why your Adam’s apple may seem swollen too.
Does reducing the your Adam’s apple prominence change your voice?
- to the operation does not change the pitch of the voice, but a might cause a few weeks of “gruffness”. Persons who want to change their voice e.g. in the process of transitioning, usually respond to speech Therapy, but some require a surgical voice feminization procedure.
Can Adam’s apple grow back?
- No, but inadequate removal can be a problem. The best way to avoid that is to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon who will perform the surgery correctly and give you the expected results.
Is Laryngoplasty dangerous?
- Not particularly.
All operations carry a risk, and laryngoplasty can cause internal swelling wich can block the airway, but this is extremely rare. The surgery is generally safe when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon.
Does testosterone make your Adam’s apple bigger?
- Testosterone before growth is completed (before puberty) make Adam’s apple bigger. It happens because testosterone enlarges the larynx and may angle it a little bit. This gives you a deeper voice and may slightly enlarge Adam’s apple.
Am augmenentation graft laryngoplasty (grafting cartilage from inside the nose) can make the larynx more prominent.
Which portion of the larynx is Adam’s apple?
- The thyroid cartilage is the portion of the larynx known as Adam’s apple. More precisely, the anterior portion of thyroid cartilage can be felt as this structure. It is a cartilaginous “shield” that protects the vocal cords.
What is the name of Adam’s apple?
- The medical name for Adam’s apple is laryngeal prominence.
What is a larynx?
- The larynx, also known as the voice box or glottis, is the area of the throat that connects the throat to a windpipe (trachea). Air passes through the larynx on its way to the lungs. The larynx houses the vocal cords, meaning it is also responsible for creating sound for the voice.
Planning your Adam’s apple reduction patient journey
Adam’s apple reduction patient journey commences the moment you schedule an appointment to see Dr Kleid. During the consultation, the surgeon assesses your needs for the thyroid laryngoplasty procedure, gets a deeper insight into your general health, and informs you about what to expect before, during, and after the surgery. This is also the perfect moment for you to ask everything you need to know, to express your concerns, and talk all about motivation for a “tracheal shave” and results from you’d like to see.
Risks and complications of Adam’s apple reduction
Every procedure comes with certain risks and complications. Even though Adam’s apple reduction is considered a safe surgery, there are still some risks to keep in mind. The course of the surgery depends on the surgeon. This also means the safety of the procedure also depends on the expertise of the surgeon who performs it.
In some cases, it is impossible to remove Adam’s apple entirely i.e. when it’s too big. Besides this, other risks and complications may include:
- Anaesthesia risks such as post-operative delirium and breathing problems
- An excessive portion of thyroid cartilage removal, which may alter the voice permanently.
- Scar too prominent
Certain adverse reactions after the procedure are normal. These are:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weak voice
You can expect these side effects to subside as you heal during the recovery process.
Tracheal shave glossary
- Facial feminization surgery (FFS) – a set of cosmetic surgical procedures whose main objective is to alter typically male facial features to bring them closer in shape and size to typical female features
- Suture – a stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of the surgical incision
Celebrities having Adam’s apple reduction
Bruce Jenner is the most popular celebrity who underwent Adam’s apple reduction in the process of transitioning to Caitlyn Jenner.
Causes for a tracheal shave
The most common reason for tracheal shave procedure is in trans-feminine patients i.e. persons who are transitioning from male to female gender and want to make their face more feminine. Large Adam’s apple in women can also be the cause for a tracheal shave in ladies who feel insecure about their appearance.
Tracheal shave – is it worth it?
Tracheal shave helps patients reduce the size of Adam’s apple and achieve desired results, especially in transfeminine persons. The surgery is worth it in terms of a confidence boost and achieving desired appearance-wise results.
How old do you have to be to have Laryngoplasty or how young?
Facial surgeries are not performed in persons under the age of 18. There is no sex maximum age for this procedure. It depends on the overall health of the patient, which is discussed during the consultation.
At this point, the only effective method to reduce Adam’s apple is through surgery. Makeup and contouring could help visually decrease the size of Adam’s apple.
Medical References and Further reading
- Patient Satisfaction after Aesthetic Chondrolaryngoplasty – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open
- Esthetic reduction of the thyroid cartilage: A systematic review of chondrolaryngoplasty – JPRAS Open
- Thyroid cartilage reduction – UW Health
Some people may choose to have a tracheal shave together with other procedures. These are usually facial feminization procedures such as:
Why choose Dr Stephen Kleid?
Dr Stephen Kleid is an expert ENT surgeon with extensive experience in performing reduction laryngoplasty procedures. Not only does Dr Kleid approach every case with utmost respect and professionalism, but he’s also a down-to-earth person who wants only what’s best for his patients. Since Dr Kleid likes to ask a lot of questions to learn more about the patient, their needs for the surgery, and general health, he also happily answers all your questions and concerns.
He developed this expertise in partial laryngectomies being done for cancers of the larynx (an operation rarely done now, due to advances in treating small laryngeal cancers), and in his experience with trans-gender patients.