Laryngeal cleft is a rare abnormality of the separation between the larynx, or voice box, and the esophagus.
- When the larynx develops normally it is completely separate from the esophagus, so swallowed foods go directly into the stomach. A laryngeal cleft creates an opening between the larynx and the esophagus so food and liquid are in danger of passing through the larynx into the lungs.
- Laryngeal cleft is a rare disorder that occurs in less than 0.1 percent of the population.
Surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital were the first in the world to perform robotic surgery on an airway to correct a laryngeal cleft. The robotic equipment allows surgeons to work through the oral cavity and in the restricted confines of the airway without impeding breathing. This minimally-invasive technique results in less pain and scarring and faster recovery for our patients.