Tracheal Shave in Facial Feminization Surgery​

September 05, 2018

Tracheal Shave in Facial Feminization Surgery

One of the common things that differentiates a male from a female appearance, is having a prominence of the Adam’s apple. The tracheal shave, commonly known as an Adam’s apple reduction surgery, is one of the most frequent procedures included in facial feminization surgery treatment plans.

What is a tracheal shave?
Trachea shave, Adam’s apple reduction, TCR (thyroid cartilage reduction) and chondrolaryngoplasty are all names for the same procedure. When a tracheal shave is used as part of facial feminization, the goal is to give the neck and throat a more feminine appearance by reducing the prominence of the Adam’s apple. In technical terms, thyroid cartilage is being removed from in front of the larynx.

What is involved with tracheal shave surgery?
If the tracheal shave is the only surgery that will be performed, it can be done under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, or in an operating room under general anesthesia, depending on your doctors’ recommendations.

Every surgeon’s technique will be slightly different, which is why it is very important to find a cosmetic surgeon who has specialization in tracheal shaves and FFS in general. The usual method is to make a small, horizontal incision just above the bump that needs to be reduced. The surgeon will fold back the muscles in front of the thyroid cartilage so that they can access it and reduce the size of the most prominent parts. Finally, the whole thing is stitched back up over the now smaller Adam’s apple.

Scarring and recovery after a trachea shave
For most patients, recovery from the tracheal shave is uneventful and relatively pain free. Unsurprisingly, there will be some redness, swelling and bruising near the incision site. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions to clean and care for the sutured incision.

Whether you are left with a noticeable scar from your tracheal shave depends on several things, mainly the surgeon’s skill level, your biological tendency to form scar tissue, and how you care for the scar after the stitches are removed. Obviously, one of these is out of your hands, but you can significantly reduce your risk of a trachea shave scar by choosing your specialist carefully and following all the post-op instructions you are given.

Possible complications from tracheal shave surgery
Like any operation, there is always a theoretical risk of bleeding or an infection but there are technical steps taken to prevent that from happening. Because we are operating on the airway of the breathing structures, in theory, there is always a risk of causing some swelling in that area. Most patients may have some mild hoarseness that persists for a few days afterwards, but then generally resolves. If it is important for you that your voice does not change, make sure you communicate this to your doctor.

So as long as you seek treatment from a highly qualified surgeon with specialized experience in trachea shave and facial feminization, the chances of vocal cord damage during the operation are very low.


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