• Pitch-raising surgery;
  • male-to-female transsexual;
  • cricothyroid approximation


Objectives: To evaluate the medium-term outcome of cricothyroid approximation and subluxation (CTAS) with postoperative speech therapy for pitch elevation in male-to-female transsexuals.

Study Design: Retrospective study of male-to-female transsexuals who underwent pitch-raising surgery between November 1996 and August 2001.

Methods: Twenty-one male-to-female transsexuals opted for surgical feminization of their voices after inadequate improvements with speech therapy alone. Electrolaryngographic measurements were obtained by a single speech therapist of modal fundamental frequencies and the percentage of irregularities before, at 2 weeks, and 6 months after surgery. All 21 patients underwent CTAS, and 20 underwent simultaneous cosmetic thyroid chondroplasty by a single surgeon.

Results: Electrolaryngographic results 2 weeks after surgery showed an average postoperative gain in modal frequency of free speech of 71.05 Hz (95% confidence interval [CI]: 42.9–99.2, P < .001). There was a concomitant average rise in irregularities of 9.9% (95% CI 0.7–18.5, P = .03). At median follow-up of 6 months after six sessions of speech therapy (n = 15), there was a decrease in irregularities to preoperative levels. The overall gain at 6 months in modal frequency of free speech was 56.9 Hz (95% CI 38.3–75.4, P < .001). Smoking and age did not predict a worse outcome.

Conclusions: Cricothyroid approximation effectively raises pitch in male-to-female transsexuals. There is a concomitant rise in voice irregularities that is effectively addressed by speech therapy.