Complete Tracheal Rings in Children

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A normal trachea (windpipe) has many rings made of cartilage (a strong and flexible tissue). These rings are C-shaped and support the trachea but also allow it to move and flex when your child breathes.

Complete tracheal rings are a birth defect in these rings that causes them to be O-shaped instead of C-shaped. This can result in airway stenosis—an abnormal narrowing of your child’s windpipe. Mild cases may not require surgery. More severe cases can seriously interfere with breathing and require treatment.

The Center for Airway Disorders at Boston Children's Hospital is specifically designed to care for children with this rare condition. Our team provides the most advanced testing and surgical techniques available.

What are Complete Tracheal Rings?

Complete tracheal rings are a birth defect in the cartilage that supports the airway. Normal cartilage rings are C-shaped. Complete tracheal rings are O-shaped, which can result in a narrowing of the airway (stenosis).

The number of rings in the trachea varies from 16-20. This defect in the cartilage can affect one or many of those rings. 

This disorder can significantly impair your child’s ability to breath and requires immediate treatment.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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