Voice feminization surgery, or pitch-raising surgery, is one method that male-to-female (MTF) transgender individuals might consider to achieve a more traditionally feminine voice. Here’s what you should know about the results of MTF voice surgery:

  1. Types of Procedures:
    • Cricothyroid Approximation (CTA): This procedure tightens the connection between the cricoid and thyroid cartilages in the larynx, resulting in a higher pitch.
    • Glottoplasty: Involves modifying the vocal cords to shorten their effective length, leading to a higher pitch.
  2. Results:
    • The primary goal is to increase the pitch, moving it to a range that is more typically associated with female voices.
    • Voice surgery can indeed raise the pitch, but results vary among individuals. Some people achieve satisfactory results, while others may not notice a significant change.
    • While pitch might be increased, the surgery doesn’t alter resonance, which is another factor in perceived gender of the voice. This is why voice training before or after surgery can still be crucial.
  3. Risks and Limitations:
    • As with any surgery, there’s a risk of complications such as infection, scarring, or adverse reactions to anesthesia.
    • There’s a possibility of the voice sounding unnaturally high-pitched or “squeaky.”
    • Overcorrection or undercorrection can occur, leading to dissatisfaction with the voice’s pitch.
    • In rare cases, loss of voice or chronic hoarseness might occur.
    • Surgery might make it challenging to produce deeper vocal tones, even if desired.
  4. Recovery:
    • After the surgery, complete vocal rest (not speaking or whispering) is often recommended for a specific duration, which can vary but is often about one week.
    • The voice may sound rough or hoarse initially after surgery and can take weeks to months to stabilize.
  5. Voice Training:
    • Many people combine surgery with voice training to achieve the desired results. Voice training can address aspects of voice and speech that surgery doesn’t, such as intonation, resonance, and speech patterns.
  6. Patient Satisfaction:
    • Satisfaction rates vary. While some individuals achieve their desired pitch and are satisfied with their results, others might not notice significant changes or might be unhappy with the outcome.

It’s essential for anyone considering voice feminization surgery to have realistic expectations and to consult with experienced surgeons to understand potential outcomes, risks, and benefits. Voice therapy with a qualified speech-language pathologist experienced in transgender voice training is also a valuable component of the voice feminization process, whether or not surgery is pursued.