Tracheal Stenosis | Diagnosis and Treatment

How is tracheal stenosis diagnosed?

Tracheal stenosis is diagnosed through a comprehensive aero-digestive evaluation that may include one or more of the following tests:

  • Airway fluoroscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT with 3‐D reconstruction
  • Echocardiogram
  • Laryngoscopy

What are the treatment options for tracheal stenosis?

Treatment depends on the severity of your child's stenosis. Your child may outgrow the problem without intervention or, if the problem is severe, surgery may be required. Your child’s treatment plan may include:

Endoscopic surgery

Our doctors are experts in the use of minimally invasive techniques to treat tracheal stenosis. In some cases, tissue may be divided using a specialized knife and then dilated with a balloon. Lasers can be used to remove segmental portions of scar tissue.

Open surgery

Our surgeons are also skilled in the use of open surgery to treat tracheal stenosis, performing many of these surgeries annually. The most common surgical procedures to treat this condition are:

  • Laryngotracheoplasty: Surgical repair of the stenosis, during which the narrowed diameter of the windpipe (trachea) is enlarged by inserting an elliptical piece of cartilage (taken from the child’s rib or ear, depending on the size of cartilage needed).
  • Cricotracheal resection: A procedure in which the scar tissue and most of the ring-shaped cartilage of the larynx is cut out and the normal trachea is brought up to replace it. 
  • Segmental tracheal resection: A procedure where surgeons remove the defective tracheal segment and then repair the airway by suturing (attaching) the remaining ends back together.
  • Slide tracheoplasty: A complex procedure to make the airway larger. During this surgery, the narrowed trachea is divided across the middle of the stenosis (the area where the airway is narrowed). A portion of the lower and upper tracheal segments are cut and then attached, resulting in an airway that is wider and shorter than before.