Adele's throat operation cured my 'Rod Stewart' voice: Mother hails laser therapy that saved the Brit winner's vocal cord – and her own speech
When friends told Maggie Honey she sounded like ‘a female Rod Stewart’, she was neither offended nor surprised.
The former primary school teacher was all too aware that her voice was becoming increasingly husky after a bout of laryngitis (a viral inflammation of the vocal cords) in her early 20s caused an enduring hoarseness.
Music lessons were virtually impossible – Maggie had to ask her assistant to do the singing for her.
'Even when I rested my voice it was still weak and I constantly used a throat spray to try to make my throat feel less dry,' said Maggie Honey
And the 45-year-old from Banbury, Oxfordshire, often had to write notes to husband Kevin and her family because she found talking so difficult.
Her predicament carried on until two years ago, when she found her voice again thanks to the same laser procedure that singer Adele underwent last year to restore her voice.
The treatment, called Green Light KTP, was previously available only in the U.S. – but now surgeons are adopting it here.
Maggie says she can understand how frustrated Adele must have felt.
‘I was prone to laryngitis from a young age but later, having to control a classroom of 30 children was hard.
'Because of my hoarse voice, I had to give up amateur dramatics and as teaching was becoming more tiring, I was relieved to give up working 12 years ago when my triplets, Alex, Nick and Tom, were born.’
Maggie had sought medical advice but the answer was always the same – that she must rest her voice.
‘But even when I rested my voice it was still weak and I constantly used a throat spray to try to make my throat feel less dry,’ she says.
‘As the boys grew they became more mischievous, and was inevitable I would have to use my voice. But if I yelled at them, I wouldn’t be able to speak the next day.’
Maggie's predicament carried on until two years ago, when she found her voice again thanks to the same laser procedure that singer Adele underwent last year
Maggie says she had almost given up going to doctors, but two years ago she saw a locum GP who suggested she go for speech therapy. However, the waiting list was very long.
‘So I went online to find an answer,’ she says. ‘I remembered Rod Stewart having had surgery and when I came across the words ‘‘vocal cord nodules’’, it rang a bell and this led me to finding my knight in shining armour who diagnosed me with the condition – I had two nodules on each side of my vocal cords.’
Vocal cord nodules are essentially calluses. Mike Dilkes, consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at the London Laser Clinic, says: ‘The vocal cords, located in the voice box in the middle of the neck, are two tough, fibrous bands that vibrate to produce sound.
‘They are covered with a layer of tissue similar to skin. With use, this layer thickens.
'With heavy use, the thickening may localise, producing a nodule that is a smooth, soft benign lump containing mostly blood and blood vessels.’
Most disappear with rest but some become severe and require surgery. Mr Dilkes recommended that Maggie undergo Green Light KTP. He says:
‘The light beams are extremely accurate and vaporise nodules without damage to surrounding tissue. This is useful on vocal cords, where scarring causes long-term damage to the voice.’
Maggie had the treatment at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St John’s Wood, North London, in October 2010.
She says: ‘I was given a general anaesthetic because, despite this procedure taking ten minutes, Mr Dilkes said he could not risk me moving as vocal cords are so delicate.
'I also had to wear a guard on my teeth as the endoscope put down the throat to expose the larynx can chip them.
‘Including recovery, it took half an hour and I came round to see Mike smiling, giving me a thumbs-up. I could not talk for 48 hours.
‘When I began to speak, I was startled to hear my voice sounding as it was years ago, but at a slightly lower pitch. It became stronger day by day – there was no hoarseness.’
‘Having seen Adele receiving her many awards, she is back in fine voice, as I am too,’ says Maggie.
The London Laser Clinic, llc.co.uk