Comparison Between two Surgical Techniques for Increasing Vocal Pitch by Endoscopic Shortening of the Vocal Folds

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Objective: To compare two surgical techniques, the Wendler glottoplasty (GP) and its modification, the vocal fold shortening, and retrodisplacement of the anterior commissure (VFSRAC) associated with laser assisted voice adjustment (LAVA) cordotomy, used to feminize the voice of transgender women by increasing the fundamental frequency (F0). Methods: A retrospective study of 22 trans-women (20-62 years-old) was carried out. 12 of them were treated with GP and 10 with the VFSRAC+LAVA technique. They were evaluated before surgery and 6 months after surgery and the postoperative speech therapy. Laryngostroboscopy examination, F0 measurements, Transgender Woman Voice Questionnaire (TWVQ) assessment and the perceptual assessment using a visual analog scale (PA-VAS) were obtained from all patients. Results: Laryngostroboscopic findings showed normal vocal folds before surgery and a shortening of the vocal folds, due to the anterior glottic synechia, after surgery. Significant increases of F0 were found in both groups but they were higher in the VFSRAC+LAVA group (47.75Hz in GP group vs 69.70Hz in VFSRAC+LAVA group). TWVQ scores showed a significant decrease in both groups although the difference was greater in the VFSRAC+LAVA group. Similarly, PA-VAS scores lowered significantly in both groups but VFSRAC+LAVA group presented the biggest decreases. Conclusion: Both surgical techniques produce the shortening of the vocal folds through an endoscopic approach and result in voices with higher vocal pitch. Of the two techniques presented, the VFSRAC+LAVA produces better results although when compared with previous studies it seems that the LAVA technique may not significantly contribute to the postoperative results. So, the VFSRAC technique followed by postoperative speech therapy could be recommended for trans-women who wish to feminize their voice.