I utilize a KTP laser in the office to tighten the superior surface of the vocal cords. On its own, this laser treatment tends to raise the pitch slightly, perhaps one semitone. The procedure can be repeated and sometimes I will get an additional 1 to 2 semitone elevation.
I use the procedure most often after another surgical procedure to raise the pitch of the vocal cords. For example, after Feminization Laryngoplasty or after Vocal cord webbing, sometimes the shortend vocal cords are not as tight as they could be. Also, after a vocal cord surgery if there is not symmetry, I can selectively tighten one or the other vocal cord.
The procedure works very well on enlarged vocal cords, especially smoker's polyps. These can be greatly reduced in size, raising the vocal pitch.
Topical anesthesia is obtained by dripping lidocaine on the vocal cords in the office. A flexible endoscope is passed through the nose and the laser is directed at the vocal cords. The procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes in the office. There is no hospital stay afterwards.
When used alone, the change is subtle.
Discomfort tends to be minimal. The vocal cords swell and create a laryngitis quality. Although you can talk, I suggest that patients not talk for the 3-7 days after the surgery so as not to create further bruising. The area that has been lasered then gradually tightens over several weeks and this typically brings the pitch up about one semitone with an initial treatment. It is possible to perform successive treatments.