The Adam’s apple is a lump of cartilage that protrudes from the voice box, or larynx. It is typically more prominent in males.

The Adam’s apple, also called a laryngeal prominence, refers to the cartilage surrounding the thyroid and throat in the front of the neck. Although it is present at birth, it grows during male puberty or with testosterone hormone therapy.

Males typically have higher testosterone levels than females, so they also usually have larger Adam’s apples. However, biological females may develop an Adam’s apple if they use testosterone or transition genders.

A person can remove or change the size of their Adam’s apple with surgery.

Read more to learn about what an Adam’s apple is, how it develops, and options for removal or reduction.

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The Adam’s apple is made of cartilage, a firm yet flexible connective tissue. Cartilage is strong but softer and more bendable than bone, and it makes up several other parts of the neck.

Usually, a person’s Adam’s apple develops during puberty. It grows around the front of the larynx, just above the thyroid, about halfway up the neck. The structure helps protect the vocal cords from external injury.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

The larynx, or voice box, is located at the front of the neck and contains the vocal cords. These are folds of tissue that vibrate to produce sound.

Along with other body parts, such as the mouth and nasal passages, the larynx produces a person’s voice. It also protects the airways during swallowing.

During puberty, testosterone makes males’ vocal cords grow thicker and longer. The cartilage surrounding the larynx also grows and then tilts slightly forward, forming the Adam’s apple.

While the Adam’s apple protects the voice box from injury, it does not serve any other purpose. A person can function normally without one.

Although both males and females develop Adam’s apples, they tend to be more prominent in males.

This is because the male larynx generally grows bigger and faster during puberty. A larger larynx explains why males tend to have deeper and louder voices than females.

Hormonal differences affect the way both the larynx and Adam’s apple develop. This means some males have larger larynxes and deeper voices than others.

For the same reason, a female may have a larger larynx, a more prominent Adam’s apple, and a lower-pitched voice.

Males, females, and nonbinary people may have Adam’s apples of various sizes. Apparent gender is not a good predictor of Adam’s apple size since hormone therapy and surgery can alter its appearance. Some people reshape their Adam’s apple as part of a gender transition.

The size of a person’s Adam’s apple does not impact physical health. However, the size can be problematic if a person feels that it does not match their body type or gender identity.

For example, someone with a prominent Adam’s apple may feel uncomfortable with what society considers a masculine feature. Others may wish to have a bigger Adam’s apple for the same reason.

If a person wants to increase the size of their Adam’s apple, a surgeon can transplant cartilage from elsewhere in the body. A 2017 case study reported on this relatively new technique, explaining that the surgeon used cartilage from the ribs to enhance the appearance of the Adam’s apple.

It is also possible to remove excess cartilage from the area around the thyroid, reducing the size of the Adam’s apple. This is called a chondrolaryngoplasty.

The Adam’s apple does not serve any medical purpose, and the size does not relate to any health condition.

However, some conditions can cause swelling in the larynx or growth in surrounding areas. This can cause the Adam’s apple to appear larger than usual.

Examples of these conditions include:

Treatment for a large Adam’s apple varies and depends on the cause. It may involve medications, such as antibiotics or corticosteroids.

If a person has cancer, treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

The Adam’s apple is a cartilage growth that protrudes from the neck. The size depends on how large the larynx grows, and Adam’s apples are typically larger in males.

The Adam’s apple itself does not impact health, but some people choose to change the size through surgery.