Friday, October 23, 2009

Restoring the voice of Julie Andrews

It looks like Julie Andrews may have found a fix for her vocal damage.

You'll remember that Ms. Andrews had surgery in 1997 to remove nodes from her vocal chords. Unfortunately, the surgery caused a scar tissue build-up which destroyed her famous soprano voice.

Before the initial botched surgery, it is said that Andrews had a four-octave range. After the surgery, she was forced to retire from singing- cancelling engagements and even an album she was set to record. If you look at this interview with Barbara Walters, you can see the agony in her face as she discusses the damage.

Needless to say, there was a medical malpractice lawsuit against her New York-based surgeons, which was settled out of court in 2000.

Cut to today - some 12 years later. Broadway.com is reporting that Ms. Andrews may have been given the opportunity to repair the damage. From Broadway.com:
Andrews may be among the first patients to undergo a new surgical treatment developed by Robert Langer of the Massachusettes Institute of Technology and voice specialist Dr. Steven Zeitels. Working together, the pair will remove scar tissue from the vocal cords before injecting a gel called polyethylene glycol to replace it. Designed by Langer and his team, the gel was specially designed to mimic the natural elasticity of vocal cords—no easy feat, considering the substance must be able to vibrate up to 200 times a second to properly produce sound. Lager notes that animal trials have been “very promising.” No details about when Andrews would undergo the surgery, which could be made available to patients within two years, were released, though the team revealed the singer’s throat has already been mapped in preparation.
We wish Ms. Andrews the best and should she undergo the treatment, we wish her a speedy recovery. Hopefully this will produce the desired effects.



Links:
To see the fully Broadway.com article click here.

[Photo - Julie Andrews Courtesy BH Impact]

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