Quirónsalud Marbella hospital is studying the use of a mobile App to help patients with the evaluation and follow-up of their voice pitch change procedures
• This is a scientific project aimed at assessing the use of a mobile app as a tool to evaluate and follow-up surgical procedures where the pre-surgical and postsurgical periods are considered as highly influential in the attainment of the expected voice pitch
The purpose of the research study carried out by the ENT Unit of the Quirónsalud Marbella Hospital is to help patients make an adequate evaluation and reinforce the desired clinical results following a surgical procedure to change the voice pitch of their vocal cords (feminisation and masculinisation). This scientific project is aimed at assessing the use of a mobile app as a tool to evaluate and follow-up surgical procedures where the pre-surgical and postsurgical periods are considered as highly influential in the attainment of the expected voice pitch. "The main purpose of this project is the validation of a programme of exercises that is available to patients on a mobile device and uses a biomechanical analysis tool to evaluate the voice pitch in a voice pitch change procedure", explains ENT expert Felipe Benjumea Flores.
The specialist assures that the data obtained will help create a routine of exercises to be incorporated into the clinical practice, either during a personal consultation or an online appointment. This study was initiated in April and it is estimated to continue for the next few months and until the end of the year. This initiative is ideal for transgender women who have undergone a surgical procedure in hospital. "We begin patient recruitment at the ENT Surgery where we identify patients with gender dysphonia caused by deep voice (they tend to feel uncomfortable with their voice pitch, because they do not feel it is aligned with that of the female stereotype). The specialist explains that these patients undergo a procedure that helps them obtain a more feminine voice and take subsequent speech therapy. Once the surgical procedure has been completed, we begin the fieldwork with the evaluation of the physical and hearing parameters with the help of this digital app".
Unique research project
This study of the potential use of a mobile device as a support tool following a voice change procedure is unique, as there is no other similar research project being actively developed at present. This is mainly due to the fact that Quirónsalud Marbella Hospital has become the Spanish reference hospital for voice feminisation procedures. In fact, the ENT Unit, co-managed by Doctors Juan Carlos Casado and Carlos O'Connor, was the first in Spain to perform this surgery known as glotosplasty in 2013.
Doctor Casado states: "we have refined our technique in the last few years and also made major improvements in the results, as we are much more agile in the operating room. We have even patented specific surgical instruments to provide safer access and apply sutures with precision in the vocal cords".
Juan Carlos Casadois the only specialist in Spain that is a member of the International Association of TransVoice Surgeons, created this year in Germany, the birthplace of the Wendler’s glotosplasty. This platform, founded by only 12 specialists from various countries, was created with the purpose of improving the quality of voice healthcare and the surgical techniques for transsexual women. Additionally, it promotes professional training and research into voice pitch change surgery. Glotosplasty consists of the change of a larynx that is anatomically designed for a male voice into one that is anatomically designed for a female voice. In order to do this, the vocal cords are reduced in length and size to provide a reduced vibration with the outgoing air and, consequently to soften the voice pitch. This is a non-invasive procedure which does not leave external scars.