Meet the surgeon who changes voices in 45 minutes – with patients able to choose pitch and listen to it DURING operation 

Dr Kursat Yelken specialises in voice-deepening and voice feminisation surgery
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Meet the surgeon who is improving people’s lives by changing their voices – with patients able to choose the pitch and tone during the surgery.

Dr Kursat Yelken is a professor of ear, nose and throat diseases, as well as head and neck surgery, who trained at Harvard Medical School and is now based in Istanbul, Turkey.

The surgeon has been performing operations on people’s vocals for over 15 years, helping them make their voices deeper or higher – including one man who said his voice went from sounding like a 13-year-old’s to a 35-year-old’s.

And Kursat says demand is only increasing for the unusual procedure with the doctor seeing 100-150 patients per year.

Dr Yelken performing surgery (Picture: Jam Press)

He shares before and after videos on his TikTok page, revealing the dramatic difference in patients.

Those seeking the doctor’s services come for myriad reasons.

“Voice is an inseparable part of one’s personal image, and being uncomfortable with their voice can affect a person’s professional or personal life as well as their confidence,” Kursat told Jam Press.

“For instance, people working in management positions may need to sound more authoritative, therefore they may want to have a deeper or more masculine voice.

“Although men are more interested in this procedure, it is not limited to them.

“Some female patients complain that they have a high or childish voices, and want to change that.

One of Dr Yelken’s patients complained he had the voice of a 13-year-old (Video: Jam Press)

The doctor says voice-deepening surgery is particularly popular among trans men, while voice feminisation surgery (to make the voice sound ‘higher’) appeals to many trans women.

Kursat added: “This procedure is a huge help for transgender people who want their voice to match their gender.

“It is getting more and more popular every day as more people become aware that it is actually possible to alter the pitch of the voice.”

The surgeon has recently shared some of his patients’ experiences on TikTok.

In one video, a male patient can be heard saying: “I’m from the USA and I’m here to get voice deepening surgery – I sound like I’m 13 and I’m 35.

“I’m happy with the results so far – looking forward to how it settles.”

Another video shows a 24-year-old woman’s voice before and after voice feminisation surgery.

In the post-op video, her pitch is higher and her voice sounds softer and more feminine.

When she is asked whether she is happy with the result, she smiles and responds: “Yes, I am very grateful.”

Dr Yelken also performs voice feminisation surgery (Video: Jam Press)

Social media users have been left stunned by the results.

“I really want to do this – I hate my voice, but this is my first time hearing about this,” wrote one person.

Another person said: “I’m going to have to get this.”

“Need this,” another user agreed.

Responding to the voice-deepening video, another person said: “Happy for you bro.”

Voice-deepening surgery is performed under local anaesthetic and works by relaxing the vocal cords and making an incision into the lower part of the neck.

A “cartilage island” is made onto the thyroid cartilage and pushed back, which makes the voice sound deeper.

The more the cartilage is relaxed, the lower the pitch of the voice will be, explains Kursat.

During the surgery, which lasts around 45 minutes, patients can choose their preferred pitch and tone of voice, listening to the way it sounds.

Recovery is relatively quick, with patients being discharged and allowed to speak straight away – although the voice may sound raspy and hoarse at first.

The doctor says that the incisions made to the neck tend to heal in around a week, and patients can expect to be fully healed within eight months.