Watch CBS News

Sam Smith's Boston Surgeon Expects Full Recovery From Vocal Cord Surgery

BOSTON (CBS) – Attention Sam Smith fans - you can breathe easy.

The surgery on the singer's vocal cords was a success and he'll be as good as new before you know it.  And it's all thanks to a surgeon right here in Boston.

"Oh, he should be doing fine," said Dr. Steven Zeitels, the director of the Voice Center at Mass General Hospital, who performed the surgery.  "I'm really excited for him because I think when he comes back, he can sing more freely and not have to worry."

While most of his work is on cancer patients, Dr. Zeitels has also become a surgeon to the stars, performing delicate vocal cord surgery to restore and protect the singing voices of hit makers like Steven Tyler, The Who's Roger Daltry, Lionel Ritchie and Adele, who gave him a shout out after a Grammy win.

Read: Zeitels Describes State-Of-The Art Voice Surgery

"Seeing it's a vocal performance, I need to thank my doctors, I suppose, who brought my voice back, so Steven Zeitels," said Adele at the awards show.

Smith had his surgery last week.  Zeitels used a laser he developed to prevent vocal cord bleeding.

Sam Smith
Sam Smith accepts the Top Radio Songs Artist award via video onstage during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

"When you pulse the light, and it's only 15/1000th of a second, and then that heats the blood in the tiny vessel and does seal it off," he said.

When Sam Smith won top male artist at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, his thank you was silent.

He held up cue cards because he's resting his voice, but it won't stay that way for long.

"I expect in about a month or so he'll be ready to sing," says Dr. Zeitels.

Many of the musicians who had surgery at MGH give back to patients, Zeitels added.

"Our cancer patients work with the celebrities and everyone comes together to help fund the research," Zeitels said.

Vocal cord problems don't just affect singers. The team at Mass General performs hundreds of surgeries every year.

But with all the stars he's treated, some wonder whether Zeitels gets free tickets to concerts.

"More often than not I actually pay for them, but I can get great seats," he joked.

In fact, Dr. Zeitels is going to see Roger Daltrey and The Who this weekend.

Smith's fans knew he was in Boston for surgery last week as he shared some photos on social media.

For more information on the Mass General Hospital Voice Center, visit the hospital's website.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.