Tracheal Shave for Gender Reassignment: What You Need to Know

The tracheal shave is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed as part of gender reassignment surgery. It is also known as chondrolaryngoplasty or tracheal chondroplasty and involves reducing the size of the Adam's apple, which is the protrusion in the front of the neck that is more prominent in males than in females. The tracheal shave procedure is typically performed on transgender women who wish to have a more feminine appearance.

The tracheal shave procedure can also sometimes be performed on cisgender women who have a larger-than-average Adam's apple, enabling them to enjoy a more elegant and feminine appearance. While the procedure is generally safe, there are some risks involved, such as bleeding, infection, and damage to the vocal cords. It is important for patients to carefully consider the risks and benefits of the procedure before undergoing it.

Elanic Medical is Glasgow’s newest, most advanced private hospital and we’re excited to be providing you with easy, timely access to the high-quality healthcare you deserve. With Elanic, you can eliminate frustrating wait times, say goodbye to the queue, and get right to the care you need. Our team of handpicked surgeons operates with an unwavering commitment to patient care, and we’re excited to learn more about what we can do for you.

Do I Need a Tracheal Shave?

A tracheal shave is performed to reduce the size of the Adam's apple or thyroid cartilage in the neck, creating a more feminine or androgynous appearance for individuals undergoing gender reassignment surgery. The procedure can also help to reduce the visibility of the trachea, which can be a source of dysphoria for some transgender individuals.

When you visit Elanic Medical for your consultation, you’ll get to meet with an expert consultant surgeon who will help you explore the ins and outs of this procedure. They’ll help you decide whether or not this procedure is right for you, answering any questions that you might have and getting to know everything they can about your medical concerns.

Individuals who are undergoing gender reassignment surgery and who wish to create a more feminine or androgynous appearance may be candidates for a tracheal shave. It is important for individuals to have realistic expectations for the results of the procedure, as it may not be able to completely eliminate the appearance of Adam's apple.

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Preparing for Your Surgery

Before undergoing your tracheal shave, you’ll visit our Glasgow offices for a consultation with a member of our surgical staff who specializes in gender reassignment surgeries. During the consultation, the surgeon will evaluate the patient's medical history and physical health and discuss the patient's goals and expectations for the surgery. The surgeon will also explain the risks and benefits, answering any questions you may have.

Once you have been cleared for surgery, we’ll prepare you for your procedure. This may include stopping certain medications or supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the days leading up to the surgery. Your surgeon may also provide specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure, such as fasting before the surgery and arranging for transportation to and from the hospital. 

The Day of Your Procedure

Anesthesia and Incision

The tracheal shave procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia, although local anesthesia with sedation may also be used. The surgeon will make a small horizontal incision in the natural crease of your neck, just above the thyroid cartilage. The length of the incision will depend on the size of your Adam's apple and the amount of reduction desired.

Reduction of the Adam's Apple

After making the incision, your surgeon will carefully dissect the tissue and expose the thyroid cartilage. The cartilage will then be shaved down using a surgical instrument until the desired reduction is achieved. During the procedure, your surgeon will take care to preserve the vocal cords and other important structures in the neck.

Closing the Incision

After the reduction is complete, your surgeon will carefully close the incision with sutures or surgical glue. A small drain may be inserted to help remove any excess fluid or blood from the area. Before your surgery, you will be given instructions on how to care for the incision site and manage any discomfort or swelling.

The tracheal shave procedure is generally considered safe and effective, with a low risk of complications. However, as with any surgery, there are risks associated with anesthesia, infection, bleeding, and scarring. We always recommend that you discuss these risks with your surgeon during your consultation before undergoing this procedure.

The Recovery Process

Following your tracheal shave procedure, you will be monitored in our recovery room until you are stable enough to be discharged. The immediate postoperative period typically lasts a few hours, during which time you can expect some discomfort, swelling, and bruising around the surgical site. Pain medication and ice packs can also help you manage these symptoms.

We recommend that you avoid strenuous activity, bending over, and lifting heavy objects for at least a week after the surgery. It’ll also be important to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, as these can delay the healing process and increase the risk of complications. Before your procedure, we’ll give you clear aftercare instructions to ensure a speedy recovery.

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