Airway Problems

Surgery for adult and pediatric airway problems involves procedures aimed at diagnosing, relieving, or correcting abnormalities of the airway.

Definition: Airway surgery in both populations is designed to address the upper respiratory tract’s structural or functional issues, which can impede normal breathing.

Technique: In adults, techniques may include:

  • Tracheostomy: Creating an opening in the neck to bypass an obstructed airway.
  • Laryngotracheal Reconstruction: To widen or stabilize the airway.
  • Laryngectomy: Removal of the larynx, typically due to cancer.

For pediatric patients, techniques are often more conservative due to growth considerations and may include:

  • Endoscopic Procedures: To remove obstructions or perform balloon dilation.
  • Open Surgery: For more complex reconstructions or to remove large lesions.

Instruments Required:

  • Endoscopes: To visualize the airway.
  • Microdebriders: For precise removal of tissue.
  • Lasers: To cut or remove tissue with minimal bleeding.
  • Balloon Catheters: For dilation procedures.
  • Custom Stents: To support airway structures post-surgery.

The goal of airway surgery is to ensure an open, secure airway to facilitate adequate breathing and protect against further complications, while also considering the impact on voice and swallowing functions.

Indications: In adults, common indications include:

  • Tumors: Benign or malignant growths.
  • Trauma: Resulting in airway obstruction or stenosis.
  • Inflammatory Diseases: Like tracheal stenosis or laryngitis.

In children, the indications are often congenital and may include:

  • Laryngomalacia: Softening of the tissues of the larynx.
  • Subglottic Stenosis: Narrowing of the airway just below the vocal cords.
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis: Impairment of vocal cord movement.

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