Your voice is an important part of your gender expression and being your most genuine self. At the UChicago Medicine Voice Center, we understand that you want your voice to reflect who you are.
Our care team includes providers who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Our laryngeal surgeon specializes in the medical and surgical management of the voice, including voice feminization. Our certified speech-language pathologists are also available to support you and can refer you to other voice experts specializing in transgender and gender non-binary patients.
We also work collaboratively with other members of your care team to help you find the best treatment options.
Voice Services Available
At UChicago Medicine, we provide patient-centered care that respects you and your choices. We offer expert services to enhance your voice, including:
- Voice feminization
- Adam’s apple reduction surgery
- Voice masculinization
If you are thinking about any of these options, we can help you understand what’s involved and help determine if you are a good candidate. To make an appointment, call 1-888-824-0200 and ask for the Trans CARE clinic, or email us at TransgenderCARE@bsd.uchicago.edu.
Frequently Asked Questions
Surgery to feminize your voice involves shortening your vocal cords with a laser to create a higher pitched sound. Most people who have this procedure, called Wendler glottoplasty, go home the same day.
After surgery, you’ll need to rest your voice for about three weeks. This means no talking, laughing, coughing or throat clearing.
There are some risks to this surgery. Some patients have jaw or ear pain, although this typically goes away in less than a week. Some also experience temporary taste change, tongue numbness or weakness. When you come to UChicago Medicine, we will discuss the risks and benefits of the surgery with you so you can make an informed decision about your care.
Our laryngeal surgeon offers a cosmetic procedure called a “tracheal shave,” also known as a chondrolaryngoplasty, that reduces the appearance of the Adam’s apple. During this procedure, the laryngeal surgeon removes some of your thyroid cartilage to achieve a more feminine appearance.
You may be asked to rest your voice after surgery for about a week. Afterward, you will have a small scar in the crease between your neck and chin.
This will be different for each individual. Your care plan will be developed with your voice therapist, and the number of sessions will be determined based on your goals. Voice therapy involves more than just raising the pitch of your voice. During treatment, you will also learn verbal and nonverbal techniques to feminize your voice and communication style.
If you are interested in this type of therapy, we can refer you to local speech-language pathologists with expertise in assisting transgender and gender non-binary patients. If you are having voice feminization surgery, we encourage you to have a few sessions before and after your surgery.
Although surgical options are available, our team typically recommends a nonsurgical option — testosterone therapy — to lower the pitch of your voice first. Most transgender men are able to achieve their voice goals with hormone therapy alone.
At UChicago Medicine, our Voice Center team works closely with endocrinologists who can provide gender-affirming hormone therapy if you are interested.
You’ll meet with our laryngeal surgeon and one of our certified speech-language pathologists, who will take the time to understand your voice concerns.
During your comprehensive exam, we’ll use a test called a videostrobolaryngoscopy to inspect your vocal cords to see if there are any existing issues that could affect the outcome of your treatment.
We’ll also offer recommendations, which may include surgical and nonsurgical options, to help you achieve your goals.
Our Voice Services Team
Our Advanced Speech and Language Pathologists
Derek Palmer, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Meg Thorsen, MA, CCC-SLP
Sweta Soni, MA, CCC-SLP
Our Voice Services Locations
Chicago, IL 60637 888-824-0200