Voice Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review

Published:January 12, 2023DOI:



      Bariatric surgery has been documented to improve comorbidities associated with obesity. Obesity can cause deposition of excess adipose tissue, narrowing of the vocal tract, and decreased lung capacity contributing to reduced vocal quality and increased vocal effort. Limited information is available regarding the impact of bariatric surgery on voice outcomes. This review seeks to examine the role of bariatric surgery on voice outcomes.

      Study Design

      Systematic review.


      A systematic review was completed using PubMed and Embase for measures of vocal change before and after bariatric surgery. Studies were reviewed by three authors, and data related to acoustic, aerodynamic, auditory-perceptual, and patient-reported outcome measures were extracted.


      Forty-nine abstracts were identified with seven meeting criteria for analysis. Voice outcomes pre and postbariatric surgery were measured across 122 individuals. Results revealed increased fundamental frequency (F0) and increased maximum phonation time (MPT) during sustained vowel productions. Correlation coefficients for MPT for /a/ were -0.683 and -0.725 for F0, respectively, indicating a strong negative correlation between body mass index and MPT and F0. Trends toward improved auditory-perceptual ratings and improved patient-reported outcome measures were also noted. However, studies were limited by restricted patient demographics and limited use of standardized and/or comprehensive evaluation techniques.


      Weight loss associated with bariatric surgery can result in improved voice outcomes; however, the mechanism by which it helps is unclear. To better understand this, otolaryngologists and speech-language pathologists may consider advocating for pre- and postsurgery voice evaluation in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

      Key Words

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