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Tracheal Shave – Adam’s Apple Reduction Surgery

Tracheal shave surgery (aka Adam’s apple reduction, chondrolaryngoplasty, or thyroid cartilage reduction) is a procedure frequently performed during facial feminization surgery (FFS) that aims to feminize the neck by removing the cartilage prominence. This surgery can be performed for cisgender, transgender (MTF), and gender non-binary or non-conforming individuals.

This procedure is usually performed by surgeons with training in facial feminization surgery. This commonly includes plastic surgeons with fellowship training, facial plastic surgeons, and otolaryngologists with laryngology fellowship training. Dr. Mittermiller is one of only a few surgeons with specialty fellowship training in craniofacial surgery and facial feminization surgery.


What is tracheal shave surgery in FFS?

Tracheal shave surgery (aka Adam’s apple reduction) is typically performed as part of facial feminization surgery (FFS). Men typically have a more prominent thyroid cartilage than women, resulting in a prominence of the neck. A tracheal shave is performed to reduce this prominence and create a more feminine neck.

Why is a tracheal shave performed?

A tracheal shave surgery brow bone reduction is performed for transgender women or non-binary individuals to increase feminine appearance and to relieve symptoms of gender dysphoria. The procedure reduces the masculine appearance of the neck by reducing the prominence and creating a smoother neck contour.


What are the tracheal shave techniques used in FFS?

The factor that is most commonly adjusted during trachal shave surgery is the location of the incision.

Mid-neck incision

A mid-neck incision is one that is placed directly on the thyroid cartilage.1 Although this allows the surgeon to have the best access to the thyroid cartilage, it is also the most noticeable incision. This type of incision is not commonly performed due to the close proximity to the thyroid cartilage and the high degree of visibility.

Cervicomental incision

The cervicomental incision is placed higher. upon the neck within one of the creases where the neck meets the area under the chin. 2 This location leads to favorable scarring and is often difficult to identify or notice.

Submental incision

The submental incision for tracheal shave is often placed directly underneath the chin. This area is well-hidden but often requires a longer scar that one placed closer to the thyroid cartilage.

Intraoral incision

An intraoral approach to tracheal shave or “scarless” tracheal shave is also not frequently performed and is only offered by a few surgeons. 3 This approach to thyroid cartilage reduction is through an incision in the lower lip. The scar is then located on the inside of the mouth.

thyroid cartilage tracheal shave
Location of the thyroid cartilage and cricoid cartilage on the neck
tracheal shave incisions
tracheal shave mittermiller
thyroid cartilage reduction
Location of possible incisions when planning a tracheal shave (thyroid cartilage reduction)

Cartilage shave

There are also multiple techniques for how exactly the front surface of the thyroid cartilage is reduced. Although the main purpose is to decrease the prominence, some people use a variety of instruments include ultrasonic tools, scalpels, or electric burs.

thyroid cartilage
Thyroid cartilage as seen from the side
cartilage removed during tracheal shave
Adam's apple reduction
thyroid cartilage reduction
Area in blue demonstrates the portion of the thyroid cartilage that is commonly reduced during a tracheal shave.

What are the risks of thyroid cartilage reduction?

The main concerning risk associated with a tracheal shave is the possibility of injuring the attachment of the vocal cords. If the attachment is injured, it can cause hoarseness or lowering of the voice. The effect can sometimes be only temporary, but for permanent conditions, it may require additional surgery in an attempt to correct the problem.

There are other potential complications from tracheal shave surgery that can also occur with any other surgery. These include risks of bleeding, infection, scarring, and injury to surrounding structures.

mittermiller ffs insurance

Dr. Mittermiller is a plastic surgeon with specialty training in craniofacial surgery and facial feminization surgery. He is primarily located in Los Angeles, California and serves the broader Southern California area.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to Consultation

Am I a candidate for tracheal shave surgery?

Tracheal shave surgery is offered for transgender (MTF) and gender nonbinary individuals who are seeking to feminize their neck. It can be the correct choice for people who are hoping to soften this masculine feature of the neck and enhance one’s pre-existing natural feminine features.

In some cases, patients may have a minimal cartilage prominence and in those cases, the benefits of surgery may not outweigh the risks.

Candidacy for surgery depends on multiple variables. One may not be an ideal candidate if they have medical problems that can result in significant complications from anesthesia.

Insurance companies frequently cover facial feminization for the treatment of gender dysphoria, which may occur when there is an incongruence between one’s physical traits and one’s gender identity.

How much does a thyroid cartilage reduction cost?

The cost of a thyroid cartilage reduction depends on multiple factors. The primary factor likely revolves around insurance coverage. When insurance covers a tracheal shave, the patient is responsible for covering the charges that are passed on to the patient. This varies from patient to patient depending on their individual insurance plan. The best way to determine the cost of surgery through insurance is to contact the office of your surgeon to discuss your insurance plan or to contact the insurance company directly.

When considering self pay for tracheal shave surgery there are additional factors affecting the cost. These include the items below:

Surgeon experience – More experienced surgeons generally charge higher rates than less experienced surgeons.
Hospital or surgery center – Undergoing the procedure at a hospital is usually more expensive than undergoing the procedure at a surgery center.
Anesthesia – Anesthesia costs depend on the experience of the anesthesia provider and duration of the operation.


Are there scars after tracheal shave surgery?

The scars associated with tracheal shave surgery are related primarily to the location and size of the incisions. A list of the various incision locations is listed above. It is important to discuss with your surgeon the location and size of the incision they normally use. In addition to the location and size of the incision, the amount of tension or stress on the incision can affect how well or poorly the incision will heal. It is important to undergo the procedure with a surgeon who performs these types of surgeries routinely since they will normally perform the operation in the least traumatic way.

How is recovery from a tracheal shave surgery? Is it painful?

A tracheal shave surgery is usually not extremely painful. When performed as part of full-face FFS, it is usually one of the less painful sites. Your surgeon will prescribe medications to take after surgery to help reduce the pain you will experience. If the medications do not completely relieve your pain, it is important to let your surgeon know immediately.

Can I see before and after photos of a tracheal shave?

Dr. Mittermiller is continuing to update the before and after photos that are being shared publicly. In addition to the photographs shared publicly, he has photographs of postoperative patients that he can share privately during a consultation. The publicly-available photographs can be reviewed in the website gallery through the link below:

Facial Feminization Photo Gallery

tracheal shave before after photo
thyroid cartilage reduction before after mittermiller
neck feminization before after
Tracheal shave before after photo intraoperatively
mittermiller ffs insurance

Dr. Mittermiller is a plastic surgeon with specialty training in craniofacial surgery and facial feminization surgery. He is primarily located in Los Angeles, California and serves the broader Southern California area.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


  1. Wolfort FG, Dejerine ES, Ramos DJ, Parry RG (1990) Chondrolaryngoplasty for appearance. Plast Reconstr Surg 86 (3):464-469; discussion 470.
  2. Spiegel H, Rodriguez G (2008) Chondrolaryngoplasty under general anesthesia using a flexible fiberoptic laryngoscope and laryngeal mask airway. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 134 (7):704-708. doi:10.1001/archotol.134.7.704
  3. Eggerstedt M, Lee JC, Mendelsohn AH (2022) Transoral Feminizing Chondrolaryngoplasty: Development and Deployment of a Novel Approach in 77 Patients. Facial Plast Surg Aesthet Med. doi:10.1089/fpsam.2022.0016