Medical mystery: Woman comes out of surgery with different accent

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Woman comes out of surgery with different accent
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Woman comes out of surgery with different accent, Marla Carter reports.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Lisa Alamia was born and raised in Texas but you wouldn't know it by her accent.

"People asked me where I'm from," said Alamia.

She went in for lower jaw surgery in December and when she came out of the surgery she had a British accent. Her husband, Richard, noticed it right away.

"I said, 'Doctor is that normal for her voice?' He said, 'Oh ya. It will go away in a couple of days,'" said Richard Alamia.

But it didn't go away, so Lisa went to see a neurologist.

"Very unusual. I can't think of a reason the jaw surgery would cause it. I went back and looked at the operative report to see if there were any complications from surgery but there weren't any," said Dr. Toby Yaltho of Houston Methodist Hospital Sugar Land.

After tests, Dr. Yaltho was able to determine Lisa had a rare neurological disorder where someone's voice can alter or change after a surgery or traumatic event.

"I'd read about it and heard about, but I never thought I'd see it," said Dr. Yaltho.

Lisa was nervous about coming forward because she feared people wouldn't believe her.

"You're going to have your skeptics," said Lisa Alamia.

With support from her friends and family she's embracing her new accent. With the accent slowly decreasing, she hopes to have her old Texas accent back.