Can My Adam’s Apple (Thyroid Cartilage) Be Built Up To Be Made More Prominent?

Q: I am interested in changing the shape of my neck. I want a visible Adams apple as my neck is too flat and feminine. Can it be done? How would it be done? Imperative to get an answer please!

A: When it comes to tracheal or thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) surgery, the standard operation is that of reduction. Known as Adam’s apple reduction (technically reduction chondrothyroplasty) it is done by shaving down the upper v-shaped edges of the thyroid cartilage through a small horizontal incision directly over the thyroid prominence.

Thyroid augmentation is a very rare request but can be just as easily done. Through the same type of horizontal incision, the upper edges of the thyroid cartilages are exposed and built up with a variety of potential materials. Then the strap muscles are closed over the augmentation and the skin closed. Essentially, the reverse of a thyroid cartilage reduction is done. This is a one hour operation done under general anesthesia as an outpatient. There is minimal discomfort and swelling afterwards. There are no restrictions after surgery.

The key element of thyroid augmentation is what type of material to use. Ideally, cartilage is best and the loosely attached ninth rib at the subcostal margin has the right shape and size to be fashioned into a v-shape. But patients are unlikely to want the discomfort of its harvest and the small scar. This leaves a variety of synthetic material choices. Either a Gore-Tex or porous polyethylene (Medpor) block can be carved and secured by sutures to the existing thyroid cartilage framework.

Dr. Barry Eppley