See also Laryngeal Clefts Information
The development of the larynx (voice box) and its separation from the esophagus (food pipe) is a complex process. 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 liquids are in danger of passing through the larynx into the lungs. Thus, a laryngeal cleft is a defect in the separation between the larynx and esophagus.
This leads to problems while swallowing (false passages of food and liquids – or bronchoaspirations), chronic cough and lung infections. There could be associated tracheobronchomalacia of varying severity. Various syndromic associations can exist along with a cleft.
The cleft warrants a surgical closure.
Our center is credited for performing the first ever endoscopic closure of a laryngotracheal cleft without endotracheal intubation and tracheostomy, and ever-since we now have a large experience in treating this condition (Sandu et al. Laryngoscope 2006). World over, the endoscopic repair now has become the standard method of treatment for laryngeal clefts.
The repair of longer clefts requires making an incision in the neck, opening up the larynx and the trachea that will allow suturing the laryngeal cleft.The surgery includes opening of the chest and temporary heart-lung bypass.