The gender affirmation process is a beautiful journey for our patients that helps them unveil the person they’ve always been inside and share it with the outside world. Whether it’s the female-to-male (FTM) or the male-to-female (MTF) transition, it’s amazing to watch the physical and psychological transformations that take place when someone finally gets to inhabit the body that’s true to them. In this post, we’re exploring a procedure commonly done during a MTF transition, which is tracheal shaving.
What is Tracheal Shaving and Why Do People Do It?
Tracheal shaving is an Adam’s apple surgery also known as chondrolaryngoplasty. It essentially reduces the size of the patient’s Adam’s apple (called the laryngeal prominence) so that it is less angular, and, well, prominent. It’s thought that the thyroid cartilage that makes up this feature is called an “apple” because medieval Arab writers felt that it somehow physically or symbolically resembled a pomegranate, or “pomum granatum,” in Latin. European writers used the synonymous Latin “pomum Adami” (Adam’s apple) to describe the bump, and it stuck.
The Adam’s apple helps protect the larynx, or voice box, and vocal chords. Both women and men have Adam’s apples, but the male Adam’s apple (which grows more during puberty) tends to be larger and therefore more noticeable. Thus this feature is most often associated with “being male.” When patients undergo a MTF transition, they may choose to include shaving an Adam’s apple to create a more feminine neck.
Dr. Beverly Fischer and her team have performed successful tracheal shaving surgeries for countless patients. This outpatient procedure is also relatively simple. It requires just one small incision on the chin. Then, Dr. Fischer carefully scrapes (shaves) the Adam's apple cartilage. She removes some of the cartilage to create a smoother neck contour, striking the correct balance between removing the right amount of cartilage while also maintaining the structure of the trachea and vocal cords, which are right behind the cartilage.
The treatment is performed under general anesthesia and the scar is easily hidden in a flap of the chin or within the shadow created by it. Patients are usually thrilled with the results because the change is noticeable right away. Tracheal shaves are confidence boosting and long lasting, providing both emotional and physical fulfillment.
An Important Part of the MTF Gender Affirmation Procedure
The MTF gender affirmation process usually includes a few major areas on the body, all designed to bring out the woman inside the male body:
- Facial Feminization: Can be accomplished through several procedures, like moving the hairline for a smaller forehead, augmenting cheekbones and lips, reshaping and resizing the jaw and chin, or having a face-lift to tighten the skin.
- Tracheal Shaving: As discussed above, this involves smoothing the contour of the neck by shaving the cartilage of the Adam’s apple.
- Breast Augmentation: This procedure includes a lift as well as implants in order to create fuller, more feminine breasts.
- Body Contouring: This can be performed surgically (lifts, tucks, liposuction) or non-surgically (lipolysis) to remove fat; shape different areas of the body like the neck and chin, buttocks, arms, back, stomach, and thighs; and tighten skin.
Those undergoing an MTF transition can have some of these procedures performed simultaneously. In this way, they’ll cut costs, minimize healing time, and avoid extra anesthesia. The entire package is a whole body transformation that helps transgender patients finally realize the female body that is within them.
Other Things to Know About MTF Procedures
These surgeries are life changing. Dr. Fischer and her team specialize in gender affirmation services and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help so many people make this life-renewing change. If you are considering having all or even one of these services performed, talk with our team. We have helped many patients navigate the often confusing process to make it as easy and fruitful as possible, supporting the mental and physical growth that accompanies the MTF and the FTM transitions. We are deeply moved to see people finally bring the person they are inside to the outside too.
Reach out today for a consultation to discuss your goals. We look forward to helping you unveil the true you inside!