Gender Affirming Voice Options at VocaLab: Understanding Wendler’s Glottoplasty

Considering surgery to help you reach your voice goals? Let’s talk options.

– By Elle Holiday

At VocaLab, we’re committed to providing comprehensive gender-affirming voice training services. While voice training offers significant benefits, some individuals may seek surgical options with their ENT, like a Wendler’s Glottoplasty, when voice training alone doesn’t meet their needs. Here’s a detailed look at this surgical option.

What is Wendler’s Glottoplasty?

Wendler’s Glottoplasty is a surgical technique designed to raise the pitch of the voice, often pursued by transgender women and non-binary individuals seeking vocal feminisation. The procedure involves reducing the vibratory surface of the vocal folds by creating an anterior glottic web. This alteration results in a higher pitch, aimed at aligning the voice more closely with one’s gender identity.

Steps to Surgery

  1. Referral and Consultation: Begin with a referral to a laryngologist experienced in transgender voice care. It’s important to discuss your expectations and understand the complete pathway—from preoperative preparations to postoperative care.
  2. Preoperative Assessment: This typically involves thorough examinations and voice evaluations to establish the baseline characteristics of your voice and to plan the surgery accordingly.

The Procedure

The surgery generally lasts about one to three hours under general anesthesia. The surgeon will use a laser to modify the anterior portion of the vocal cords, then stitch them together to shorten the vibratory length, thus raising the pitch​ (Mount Sinai Physician’s Channel)​​ (Cleveland Clinic)​.

Recovery and Aftercare

Post-surgery, a period of voice rest is crucial, typically lasting from five to 14 days. Following this, sessions with a speech-language pathologist are vital to help adapt to the new vocal capabilities and to maximize the outcomes of the surgery​ (Cleveland Clinic)​.

Risks and Benefits

Benefits:

  • Achieves a higher, more consistent pitch that can aid in gender congruence.
  • Reduces the likelihood of being misgendered based on voice alone.

Risks:

  • Potential for a weak or strained voice.
  • Risks of dysphonia, vocal cord dysfunction, and in rare cases, vocal fold paralysis​ (Cleveland Clinic)​.

Acoustic Comparisons: Voice Training vs. Glottoplasty

While Wendler’s Glottoplasty can effectively raise vocal pitch, it’s essential to compare it with non-surgical voice training outcomes. Studies show that combining surgery with ongoing voice therapy maximizes positive outcomes, enhancing both pitch and other qualities like resonance and intonation​ (SpringerLink)​.

Conclusion

Deciding on Wendler’s Glottoplasty involves careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks. At VocaLab, we ensure our clients are fully informed and supported throughout their journey, whether they choose voice training, surgery, or a combination of both. Always consult with healthcare professionals to understand the best options for your specific needs.

Looking for voice gender-affirming voice training? VocaLab delivers voice training online and in-person from North Adelaide. You can read more about our Speech Pathologists, prices and accessibility to training HERE

For further details on Wendler’s Glottoplasty, please refer to resources from established medical centres like Mount Sinai and the Cleveland Clinic​ (Mount Sinai Physician’s Channel)​​ (Cleveland Clinic)​.

Share This :

Join the VocaLab Newsletter

We’ll let you know about new posts, courses and much more!