Laser vocal cord tuning

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There are various types of lasers and various modalities for using lasers on the vocal cords. One type of laser treatment, LAVA, attempts to increase vocal pitch through a thinning and tightening of the vocal cords. Increases in fundamental frequency with this technique tend not to be as large as with other surgical methods [14]. One advantage is that no external incision is required. In one of my patients whose pitch spontaneously returned to the masculine range after CTA, the addition of the LAVA procedure brought her comfortable speaking pitch back up toward the female range again temporarily. So it is possible that some combination of procedures might be beneficial. See also [16]. 

An office laser may be used to tighten up the vocal cords. I have used this treatment technique (previously with the Pulsed Dye Laser and presently with the KTP laser). The procedure takes about 30 minutes. A numbing medication is dripped onto the vocal cords. The laser is used on the top surface of the vocal cords away from the vibrating edge.

KTP laser tuning of the vocal cords to raise and smooth the speaking pitch

Discomfort tends to be minimal. The vocal cords swell and create a laryngitis quality. I asked patients not to talk for the 1st 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.

Indications for use

  • Tighten up asymmetric vocal cords. 
  • Shrink smoker's polyps, which will raise the pitch (Smokers polyp's occur most typically in females and may leave them with a rather deep, masculine voice).
  • Correct other causes of lowered pitch (examples might include from steroid use or testosterone exposure).
  • Raise the comfortable speaking pitch.