If you have been considering rhinoplasty, or more colloquially, a nose job, you may be curious about changes beyond just your appearance. While it is true that rhinoplasty may improve the appearance of the nose, and in many patients will also improve the ability to breath more easily, a nose job may also cause subtle changes to the voice. For those who use their voices professionally, voice changes after rhinoplasty may be of concern.
For most patients, voice changes after rhinoplasty are so subtle that patients may only notice the most subtle of changes, if any at all. The changes may be so mild that for the vast majority of patients there is no obvious effect on their everyday lives once they have recovered from their surgery.
Patients who use their voices professionally, particularly those who sing, may need to discuss the possibility of voice changes after surgery with their doctor. Those who speak for a living, such as television or radio personalities or actors, may not be as concerned as those who rely on pitch and ability to change pitch; however, most patients find that the changes are so minimal that they don’t impact their career in any significant manner. Discussing the severity of the problem to be corrected and how significantly this will alter the inner anatomy of the nose may give you a better idea of how much the voice might change after surgery. Most voice changes are attributable to narrowing of the airway passages in the nose as a result of rhinoplasty.
A recent study of voice changes after rhinoplasty asked patients to use a questionnaire to rate problems or changes in their voice after surgery. The study was small, including only 27 patients, but nearly a quarter of those patients used their voices in some form professionally. While patients did report noticing changes in their voice, most indicated no change in functionality. Their voices were also recorded both before and after surgery, and trained listeners were tasked with listening to the recordings to determine if changes were indeed present. The trained listeners did not know which recordings they were listening to, but most noted a slight increase in hypernasality, that is, a slight change due to narrowed nasal passages. However, the listeners did not indicate that the changes were significant.
When rhinoplasty is performed, the interior of the nose is often affected, even if it is the exterior that is being treated. For most patients, this involves a narrowing of the nasal passages, although for some patients it may involve correcting a deviated septum and bringing the nasal passages on both sides of the nose into a more equal size. These changes cause sound absorption to increase due to increased resistance in airflow. In addition, the amplitude of the sound decreases. Despite these changes, most patients, even if they do notice voice changes after surgery, experience no impact on their professional lives.
If you have been considering rhinoplasty, whether you are concerned about voice changes or not, please call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing locations or (816) 436-3262 for our North Kansas City location. Be sure to discuss the possibility of voice changes during your consultation, should this be a concern for you.