Ltr Surgery

1 What is a Laryngotracheal Reconstruction?

A surgery that widens your windpipe or trachea to make breathing easier is called laryngotracheal reconstruction.

This will involve inserting a small piece of cartilage into the narrowed section of the windpipe to make it wider. The cartilage is the soft tissue found in many areas of your body.

This problem can occur to anyone especially children and the reasons can include injury, stomach and acid reflux, infection or a birth defect.

A disease that causes tissues or blood vessels inflammation such as sarcoidosis or Wegener’s granulomatosis may also be the cause of a narrowed windpipe.

To provide a stable and safe airway without the use of assistance from a breathing tube is the main goal of laryngotracheal reconstruction.

This procedure can help remove the tracheostomy in people who already have tracheostomy tube for breathing.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Possible reasons for laryngotracheal reconstruction include:

  • Malformation of the voice box or larynx which may be present at birth.
  • Narrowing of the airway or stenosis which may be caused by injury, infection or disease.
  • Vocal cord paralysis which can obstruct the airway and make breathing difficult.
  • Weak cartilage or tracheomalacia when your child’s immature cartilage lacks stiffness to maintain a clear airway leading to breathing difficulty.

To establish a permanent, stable airway for you to breathe through without the use of a breathing tube is the main goal of laryngotracheal reconstruction surgery.

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3 Potential Risks

Some of the potential risks of laryngotracheal reconstruction include:

  • Collapsed lung or pneumothorax which happens when the lung’s outer lining is injured during surgery.
  • Infection at the surgical site.
  • Voice and swallowing difficulties which can happen after the endotracheal tube is removed wherein you may feel a sore throat or breathy voice.
  • Endotracheal tube or stent displacement.
  • Anesthesia side effects that can lead to a sore throat, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and sleepiness.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for laryngotracheal reconstruction, your doctor may give you restrictions for your child.

He may ask you to bring your child’s favorite things so he/she will be comfortable at the hospital.

Before surgery, your doctor should tell you what time you or your child needs to stop eating and drinking.

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after a laryngotracheal reconstruction.

The open-airway laryngotracheal reconstruction can be done using different techniques depending on the severity of your child’s condition.

During a single stage reconstruction, the surgeon will reconstruct or widen the airway by inserting precisely shaped pieces of cartilage or grafts from the ribs, thyroid or ear into the trachea.

An endotracheal tube will be placed to support the cartilage grafts. During a double stage reconstruction, the surgeon will reconstruct or widen the airway by inserting precisely shaped pieces of cartilage or grafts from the ribs, thyroid or ear into the trachea.

The tracheostomy tube will be left in place to provide a framework for the airway to heal. Resection is when the narrow part of the windpipe is removed completely and the remaining segments are sewn together.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of laryngotracheal reconstruction will be made possible by your doctor.

Full recovery may take a few weeks to several months. Most people stay in the hospital seven to 14 days after open-airway laryngotracheal reconstruction surgery.

Your child may need sedation to help prevent the breathing tube from coming out or may need help from a breathing machine.

Your doctor will perform regular endoscopic exams to check the development of the airway healing.

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