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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Patients perceive voice changes after rhinoplasty

February 27, 2014, 8:33 am

rhinoplasty voice changeIf you have been considering rhinoplasty, cosmetic surgery of the nose, you might not be aware of changes beyond your appearance. Did you know that your voice might change too? For most people, this may not be a major concern, but for those who use their voice professionally, such as singers, radio announcers, or actors, this might be an important consideration.

In a recent study reported in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, voice changes after cosmetic nose procedures were found to quite common. Although the study was small, including only 27 patients (five men and 22 women), it is worth noting, particularly for those who rely on their voices professionally. The study was conducted in two hospitals in Iran where rhinoplasty is a particularly popular cosmetic procedure.

It is important to note that while changes in the voice are noticeable after surgery, they do not interfere with speech or other physical functions of the mouth, throat, or vocal chords. Dr. Kamran Khazaeni and his fellow researchers at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences believe the changes may be related to narrowing of the nasal passages. The changes in the nasal cavities after rhinoplasty also cause changes in the acoustics of the nose, increasing the absorption of sound while decreasing amplitude.

During the study, patients who underwent rhinoplasty were asked to complete a standardized questionnaire after their surgeries. All patients reported no changes in voice function and no impact on everyday activities outside of professional considerations. However, some patients felt that they had lost some qualities such as those which allow them to show certain emotional responses via the voice.

In addition to asking patients to respond to standardized questions, the researchers made before and after recordings of each patient’s voice. The recordings were then played for trained listeners who did not know if they were listening to before or after recordings. These trained listeners reported an increase in hyponasality qualities to most of the voices. In this type of voice, not enough air moves through the nasal passages when a person is speaking. The sound quality is similar to that of a person with nasal congestion.

Although patients and trained listeners in the study were able to perceive voice changes after rhinoplasty, the study did not address whether or not the general population would be able to hear these changes during normal conversation. The changes are considered to be subtle, but because the patients and trained listeners both identified changes, this should be a consideration for anyone who relies on their voice as part of the work. Such concerns should be discussed during consultation prior to surgery.

If you have been considering rhinoplasty, Dr. Hlavacek and the staff at Kansas City Surgical Arts are here to support you in your journey and to answer any questions you may have, including those related to possible changes to your voice. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 816-286-4126. We look forward to hearing from you.