FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions.

Fly in for Surgery

Do you have any coordinators who can make arrangements for my medical trip to Japan? Or can you introduce one to me?

No, you will need to make your own arrangements for your travel and lodging outside the clinic here.

Can you arrange my flight ticket?

We do not offer this service at this time.

If there is no flight available on the day before my scheduled operation, can it be rescheduled?

Last minute rescheduling of an operation is impossible. Please check everything to make sure you will be able to get to the clinic in time before finalizing your surgery date with us.

Admission to Our Clinic

I am worried because I do not speak Japanese.

Our two principal doctors, Dr. Tanabe and Dr. Hiroshiba, can communicate with you in English.

Are signs and instructions in the clinic available in English?

No. However, what you need to know will be communicated to you directly by your doctor and the staff as needed in English.

How long am I going to stay in the clinic?

Basically it is going to be a one-night/two-day stay or a two-night/three-day stay. Please note that vocal communication remains restricted after the discharge from the clinic for as long as one week after the operation. Communication has to be via writing messages during this time.

Do I need to arrange/bring a bedside attendant for the clinic stay?

No, you don’t.

One of my friends/ family members is planning to join my medical travel. Can he/she stay with me in the clinic?

We can accommodate only one person per one patient, with an additional charge of US$ 20.

Can I check in the clinic earlier than the scheduled time if I arrive at the clinic unexpectedly early?

As far as it is on the same day as planned and after 10:00 AM, you can.

Preoperative Examination

Is it possible to arrange everything in one day – in other words, from the preoperative examination through the operation itself?

No, the preoperative examination is necessarily done on the day before the operation.

What would be the cost of the preoperative examination?

It is US$ 100.

About the Surgery

For the earliest operation available, how soon in advance can I schedule an appointment?

It depends on the vacancy in the schedule, which is constantly being updated. Please check with us through the Consultation Form.

Contact

Is the anesthesia general anesthesia?

In thyroplasty we use topical anesthesia so that we can check and adjust your voice during the operation.

Are there age criteria for the operation?

We can give throat operations to patients between the ages of 13 and 75 in general.

Who will perform my operation?

Dr. Hiroshiba and Dr. Tanabe are the operating doctors. Dr. Isshiki may occasionally participate in the operation as a consultant, but he is not present for all operations.

Recovery Period

How can I have follow-up checkups after the operation?

We will check with you at intervals of 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after the operation through email and/or Skype connection. You can come back for a direct examination if the condition requires.

What should I be careful about after the operation?

Since you cannot speak for a week after the operation (it is called ‘silence therapy’), the most critical thing is to schedule your operation for a time when you can afford such a week.

I would like to do some sightseeing in Kyoto after the operation. Are there things that I should be careful about?

Nothing, other than refraining from speaking for seven days. That is the only major thing. Please see the Postoperative Patient Guide for details.

The Patient’s Guide

Can I have the follow-up checkups in a hospital/clinic in my country?

Taking out the stitches after a week can be done by your primary doctor. Or, if you like, we can provide a buried suture which does not need to be removed.

What is the normal length of a complete recovery?

Around 3 months.

After the Recovery Period

Are there limitations after the recovery period, such as no shouting, coughing, limited voice use due to fatigue, etc?

You should keep completely silent up to 7 days after the surgery. You should talk softly for the first month after surgery.

If you think the thyroplasty surgery are unsatisfactory, are there risks for any permanent damage from a consequent surgery that reverses the procedure?

If you are not satisfied with the result, we can reverse your larynx modification procedure by removing the titanium bridges. You might sense a slight difference even after the removal of the bridges.

How long do the titanium bridges last?

Permanently. There is very little possibility of their collapsing.

What is the chance of a titanium bridge dislocating and failing?

We have had no such experiences.

Are there any long term side effects from the surgery - hoarseness, high-pitched voice, swallowing difficulty, etc?

Some patients feel some hoarseness where they once spoke more easily. Few patients feel swallowing difficulties after surgery. All the patients' voices are slightly changed to a higher pitch.

How long does the scar last? Will it go away?

It depends on the patients. It tends to disappear more on those with darker skin.

Health Insurance and Medical Expenses

Is there information regarding the cost and payment methods?

Please see Cost and Payment page for details.

Cost and Payment

Is the operation covered by my insurance? What are the conditions and terms that apply for insurance coverage?

Since it depends on your insurance provider’s policy, please ask your health insurance company to find out what is covered.

Does Type 2 thyroplasty surgery using a titanium bridge work well for patients who use their voice a lot?

Yes, most patients in vocally-intensive occupations improve enough to become comfortable in talking at work. However, some have experienced a feeling of fatigue after talking for a long time. This is observed more often in male patients, and some of them have had both ADSD and muscle tension dysphonia. Such patients need to modify their way of speaking.

So it is preferable for them, and all patients in general, to refrain from too much speaking at first, especially just after surgery. It seems that patients who slowly begin to use their voice after the operation are less likely to develop this fatigue. So again, we stress that you avoid sudden and extensive use of speech after the operation.

Do adjustments often have to be made after initial surgery? What is the cost of such adjustments?

We have had only a few experiences where readjustment was required.
The cost is about US$3000 + US$240 (comsumption tax). Initial surgery costs US$5000+ US$400 (comsumption tax).

Others

I have dietary restrictions for my religious practice/ for my allergies. Could you consider these restrictions to arrange my meals during the stay?

Yes, we can.

I have pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes, hypertension, etc)/ I have some medication I take regularly. Can I still have the operation?

Please bring all your routine medication and talk with your doctor at the initial examination. You can also consult with us before traveling to Japan through the online web inquiry system.

Contact

Is GID (gender identity disorder) covered by my insurance?

Again, this depends on your insurance company’s policy, so please consult with them.

Can you introduce me to a medical facility in which I can get a physical GID operation - the SRS (sex reassignment surgery)?

Sorry. We do not offer this service.

Is there any voice training that you recommend to practice after the operation?

We can offer you training sessions through Skype. Please ask us for details upon your admission.

Can you provide me with hotel information in and around Kyoto?

Please check this page below:

Hotels and Sightseeing

Can you provide a postoperative surgery report in English for my employer? I need this to prove the success of the surgery so that I can continue working.

Yes, we can.

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