new set of nonsurgical procedures known as the “voice lift” is making waves on both sides of the Atlantic although many doctors feel that it offers too few benefits. A recent post on RealSelf discusses the trend towards adding volume to the vocal cords to boost vocal performance, which is becoming more popular in the US and UK. Human voices naturally age as our vocal cords thin over time. This makes the voice sound crackly and reedy. Plastic surgeons are able to restore some of the natural fullness of the voice by restoring some of this volume to the vocal cords. Some of the same techniques that can be used to and volume and definition to the face are being used for the so-called “voice lift.” One of these approaches is fat grafting. During this procedure, unwanted fat is removed from elsewhere in the body, specially processed, and then grafted onto the vocal folds in the larynx. The other approach is through dermal fillers such as Juvederm. Unlike with fat grafting, injectable fillers do not require an additional surgical procedure to remove fat from elsewhere in the body. However, injectable fillers usually don’t last as long as fat grafts. They are typically absorbed by the body after a few months. Regardless of the method, the voice lift is severely limited in its effectiveness. These procedures only tend to improve the voice over the course of weeks, maybe months, but certainly not years. Some might ask whether there might be a surgical approach to the voice lift. While it is possible, no responsible surgeon would perform that kind of surgery. Unless the voice box is seriously impaired, no cosmetic voice enhancement is worth the risk of complications. Until these injectable techniques become more advanced, and provide longer lasting results, the voice lift is one procedure that is likely more trouble than it’s worth. Photo credit: Dinozauris, Wikimedia Commons
Dr. Jonov is a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgeries of the face, breast, and body at Seattle Plastic Surgery.