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September 17, 2012

Ageing businessmen opting for ‘voice-lift` surgery to restore tone

London: Increasing numbers of elderly people, many of them businessmen, are looking to ‘voice-lift’ surgery to boost their speech. Ear, nose and throat surgeons say the operation to restore youthful tones can boost the confidence of business people who believe their authority is eroded as their voice ages, the Daily Mail reported. The voice lift, which costs up to 6,000 pounds, is expected to become increasingly popular as more people now work well past retirement. The doctors treating them, known as phonosurgeons, claim it reduces the reediness in the voice. John Rubin, a consultant at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London , advocates injecting stomach fat into the vocal cords to bulk them up and boost the voice. Some surgeons use collagen or other fillers more commonly used to plump up lips, but these can make the vocal cords too stiff or work only in the short term, Rubin said. “The biomechanical properties of fat aren’t that different from the vocal cords. Fat has a high water content, so half of what is injected disappears within 36 hours. The rest stays put and will be effective for [up to] 18 months,” he explained to a Sunday newspaper. Yakubu Karagama, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, added: “A lot of doctors and patients still don’t know we can do something about ageing voices, but this field is growing rapidly because we now have a variety of innovative techniques to help them.” Meanwhile in the U.S. , scientist Robert Langer and Steven Zeitels, the throat surgeon who saved singer Adele’s voice earlier this year, are perfecting a rubbery gel that restores elasticity to aged and damaged vocal cords. Treatments with the gel could be available next year and Dr Zeitels believes it will eventually become commonplace for the elderly to have voice lifts.

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