If you don’t like the shape, size or certain features of your nose, you might consider rhinoplasty to change it. A recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, suggests that your nose isn’t the only thing rhinoplasty can alter.
The study found that the surgery can change certain aspects of the voice. For most people, the changes aren’t much of a big deal. But, if you are a singer or professional speaker, you might want to discuss the possibility of vocal changes with your surgeon before undergoing surgery.
A Small Sample
The study was conducted by Dr. Kamran Khazaeni at Iran’s Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. It’s important to note that the study only involved a small number of people. The researchers examined the changes in vocal patterns in just 27 patients. Of the patients, 22 were women and five were men and the average age was 24. Less than a quarter of participants used their voices professionally.
The researchers looked for vocal changes by asking the patients to rate the sound of their voice after the surgery and by having trained listeners compare before and after recordings of the patients speaking. The listeners weren’t told which recording was the before and which was the after.
To evaluate their voices, the patients completed a questionnaire. Most participants responded in a way that suggested they thought their voice was worse after the rhinoplasty, as least in terms of its emotional and physical function. None of the patients reported changes in their voice functionally, meaning there were no issues with daily use of the voice.
The people listening to the voice recordings, a team of speech pathologists and linguists, did detect changes in voice quality. For example, after the surgery, many patients pronounced words such as “name” and “man” with more of a nasal sound than before. The changes in the voice following the procedure were described as being hyper-nasal.
The Nasal Cavity
The way a person sounds when he or she is congested is a good way to describe how hypernasality sounds. Air can’t flow through the nasal passage as well when the nose is congested. In some cases, rhinoplasty can make the nasal cavity smaller, particularly when swelling is present, which also reduces the amount of air that passes through, resulting in changes to the voice.
Note that most facial plastic surgeons, due to their background training in Otolaryngology, are able to improve, not worsen, nasal breathing.
Singing and Nose Jobs
While rhinoplasty does change the nasal cavity, it’s important to note that the surgery might have very little impact on your voice if you are a singer. The better you sing, the less you use your nose. In the U.S. at least, most singers are trained to produce sound using their throats and chest. Singing through the nose generally produces a sound that many people find undesirable to begin with.
Consulting With a Surgeon
Everyone, and every nose, is different. While the changes to the voice detected after nose reshaping surgery were very subtle, those changes can be a big deal for a person who relies on the sound and tone of his or her voice for a living. For example, if you work as an announcer, you might be particularly concerned about the impact your nose surgery could have on your voice.
Consulting with your surgeon is recommended before any plastic surgery procedure, whether you are concerned about the impact the surgery will have on your voice or not. Your surgeon will give you an idea of what to expect during the surgery and afterward. He will also typically examine your face and take measurements of your nose. If voice changes are a concern to you, bring that up during your consultation.
Once the surgeon has an idea of your goals and expectations, he will usually use digital imaging to craft a picture of the nose after surgery. You are able to go back and forth with your doctor, making changes to the images, until the nose meets your expectations.
You can also review before and after photos of past procedures to get an idea of the type of results you might get before your consultation. Once you have decided to go forward with the surgery, contact Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, for a consultation. Dr. Epstein has two offices. For an appointment in Miami, call 305) 666-5884. You can also schedule an appointment in New York City by calling (212) 759-3484.