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What is Adams Apple, How Does it Develop & Condition Causing Adams Apple to Appear More Prominent

What is Adams Apple (Laryngeal Prominence)?

Adam’s apple is a bump present in the front of the neck around the thyroid gland and throat.(1) It develops due to the protrusion of the cartilage of the voice box or larynx. The larynx is made up of 9 different areas of cartilage, the largest amongst which is the thyroid cartilage. As the larynx grows during puberty, more space is needed for the thyroid cartilage to expand. It, therefore, pushes forwards, showing up as Adam’s apple. It is known to be more prominent in males and is therefore also termed as laryngeal prominence.

What is Adams Apple (Laryngeal Prominence)?

It is present by birth but may get more prominent after puberty in males or with testosterone hormone therapy. Males have a higher level of testosterone therefore Adam’s apple is larger. It develops in females who transition genders or use testosterone.

Why Does Adams Apple Develop?

The larynx or the voice box is present in the neck and contains folds of tissues that vibrate to produce sound. The larynx along with the nose and mouth helps in producing a person’s voice. It also plays a role in protecting the airways during swallowing.

As puberty arrives, the vocal cords in the males grow thicker and longer. The cartilage around the larynx also grows and tilts forward making Adam’s apple more prominent.
Adam’s apple has no other purpose than protecting the voice box from injury. A person’s life can function normally even without it.

How is Adams Apple Different in Males and Females?

Adam’s apple develops in both males and females but is larger in males.

Adam’s apple is larger in males because the larynx in males tends to grow bigger faster during puberty. This is also a reason why males have a deeper and louder voice than females. However, the size of Adam’s apple may vary in males as well as some males tend to have a deeper voice than others.

Sometimes, some females also have a larger larynx and a more prominent Adam’s apple.

The appearance of Adam’s apple may not be a good gender predictor as its size can be altered by surgery or hormone therapy. Some people who go for gender transition alter the shape of Adam’s apple.

Adams Apple Surgery

The size of Adam’s apple may not affect a person’s health. A person may be uncomfortable if the size does not match the body type and gender. For example, a female with a more prominent than usual Adam’s apple may feel uncomfortable as it is considered by society as a masculine feature.

If a person wants to increase the size of Adam’s apple, cartilage can be transplanted from elsewhere in the body. A study done in 2017 reported a surgeon transplanting cartilage from the ribs to enhance the size of Adam’s apple.(2)

To reduce the size of Adam’s apple, excess cartilage can be removed from around the thyroid. (1) This procedure is known as chondrolaryngoplasty.(3)

Condition Causing Adams Apple to Appear More Prominent

Adam’s apple does not affect a person’s health and neither does it indicate any health condition.

However, there are certain conditions in which the larynx or the surrounding area grows in size. This can make Adam’s apple appear larger in size. These conditions include:

The treatment of an enlarged Adam’s apple depends on the condition causing it. It may include antibiotics and corticosteroids. If a person has cancer, removal of the tumor, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be needed.

The Adam’s apple is a term coined for the area of thyroid cartilage that shows to be prominent in front of the neck. It gets more prominent in males at the time of puberty. Sometimes it may indicate a condition that would need medical treatment. If the appearance of Adam’s apple is altering the quality of life, it is good to talk to a healthcare professional and find a solution to it.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 26, 2022

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