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Airway Reconstruction

Airway Reconstruction Surgery Treatment

Airway reconstruction surgery includes hundreds of procedures involving the area from the top of the voice box all the way down to the trachea. The procedures fall into two main categories under airway reconstruction:

  • Open Airway Procedures — made with an incision into the airway in the neck.
  • Endoscopic Airway Surgery—done through the mouth and do not require an incision in the neck. Procedures include microscopic laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy.

Who Is a Candidate for Airway Reconstruction Surgery?

We perform airway reconstructions on children with breathing difficulties, either from a congenital defect or as a result of a medical procedure. Candidates for airway reconstruction include:

  • Children with tracheal or laryngeal problems
  • Babies born prematurely with a history of intubation
  • Children with conditions such as glottic stenosis, subglottic stenosis, tracheal stenosis, laryngeal cleft and laryngeal atresia
  • Children who have had a tracheotomy tube removed

Types of Open Airway Reconstruction Surgery Procedures

The most common types of open airway reconstruction procedures that reconstruct or expand airway segments include:

  • Laryngotracheal reconstruction with cartilage grafting — this surgery widens the narrowed section of windpipe just below the voice box that is primarily a problem that occurs in children. The operation should allow children to breathe without needing to rely on a tracheostomy which bypasses the narrowed section of windpipe.
  • Cricotracheal resection (CTR) — this surgery removes the narrowed, or stenotic, part of the airway just below the voice box (larynx) and sews the voice box and wind pipe (trachea) back together. CTR is used to treat subglottic stenosis and other airway abnormalities.
  • Slide Tracheoplasty — this surgery repairs a long tracheal stenosis (narrowing of the trachea) by reconstructing and widening the airway.