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Costa del Sol hospital surgeons give patients more feminine voices
MARBELLA'S Hospital Quirón has carried out four pioneering operations to make patients' voices sound more feminine.
The otorrhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) department led by Dr Carlos O'Connor and Dr Juan Carlos Casado say the technique is minimally-invasive, since it does not involve any external incisions and is carried out through the mouth.
Known as the Wendler Glotoplasty, the operation is very low-risk and recovery times are fast.
It has been carried out in Spain for the first time ever on two Spanish nationals and one patient originally from Brazil, although their gender has not been revealed.
This said, it has been performed elsewhere in the world on transsexuals – men becoming women – since the voice is one of the main factors that causes lack of self-confidence as, despite being anatomically and emotionally a woman, they still have a male voice.
The operation was overseen by Dr Teemu Kinnari, of Helsinki University Hospital in the capital of Finland, who has extensive experience in this type of surgery.
It involves tightening the 'strings', reducing the mass and altering the consistency of the vocal chords in order to create a shorter larynx – since men's are longer than women's – and make the voice more high-pitched.
In the past, such an operation would involve opening up the neck, which left scars, required a greater recovery time, more pain, and rarely worked very well.
The new method requires only an overnight stay in hospital after surgery and relatively little pain, and complications – which are non-life-threatening – only occur in fewer than 20 per cent of cases.
Dr O'Connor strongly recommends that patients undergoing the operation be referred to a speech therapist afterwards to train their voices.
This intervention has been carried out for several years in many other countries, with on average 10 to 15 patients a year and, in 75 per cent of cases, the voice becomes more female, although in a quarter of all patients, little or no difference is seen.
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