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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Surgery 'makes you sound young'
A growing number of patients are having this surgery
Doctors in the United States are offering patients voice lifts to help them sound younger.

The surgery involves plumping up the vocal cords to turn old shaky voices into strong clear ones.

The technique has previously only been used on people who have lost their voices through injury or disease.

But doctors say it is becoming popular with patients who have already had plastic surgery and want to sound as well as look younger than they are.

"There are people who pay $15,000 for a face lift and as soon as they open their mouth, they sound like they're 75," said Dr Robert Thayer Sataloff of the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia.

"The wobbles, the tremors, they're what we recognise as things that make a voice sound old."

Vocal cords

Surgeons can make the voice sound younger by bringing the vocal cords closer together.

This is done by injecting collagen or similar substances to plump the vocal cords up.

It can benefit people like politicians and teachers who need to have a strong voice that carries
Dr Leroy Young
"The surgery brings the vocal folds closer together either by injecting a material through the mouth fat or a bone like substance or collagen or by making a little incision in the neck and implanting a little piece of gortex to bring all of the vocal fold tissues closer together," said Dr Thayer Sataloff.

"Either one of those techniques will take a voice that is soft and breathy and give it strength and solidity that makes it sound more believable and younger."

Doctors said the technique could be particularly helpful for people who use their voice in their careers.

"It can benefit people who may be getting toward the end of a singing career," said Dr Leroy Young of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

"It can benefit people like politicians and teachers who need to have a strong voice that carries," he said.

"I'd say caveat emptor for the professional singer but if you're a teacher and you don't want to sound like Marlene Dietrich, it's something to consider."

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