What is a Compromised Airway and how do we correct it?

The airway starts from the nostrils and continues until the lungs. There are several conditions that can result in blockages or an obstruction in the airway. This is the compromised airway. Corrective surgeries for the compromised airway include procedures involving the nose, back of the mouth and the voice box extending down to the trachea.

There are several types of airway corrective surgeries for stenosis of the larynx and the trachea. Broadly they can be divided into 2 types:

  • External (open) airway procedures – these are made with a neck incision and are a direct approach into the airway.
    Open airway correction can be achieved either by
    - Laryngotracheal reconstruction with cartilage grafting: allows airway expansion with a spacer graft
    - Cricotracheal resection and tracheal resection: excision or removal of the stenosis and connecting together the adjacent normal airway
    - Slide tracheoplasty: sliding two narrow airway segments on each other.

    The decision is tailor-made as per individual patient needs.

  • Endoscopic procedures – these are minimal invasive procedures done with the help of advanced highly modern optical devices.
    In this technique, special endoscopes are passed either through the mouth or nose and advanced to visualize the entire aero-digestive tract. Endoscopy of the nose is called rhinoscopy and when involving the voice box, it is referred to as laryngoscopy. The larynx can be visualized using optical endoscopes and the microscope. Tracheo-broncho-esophagoscopy includes visualization of the lower airway (trachea and bronchi) and the food pipe (oesophagus).
 Last updated on 03/03/2020 at 10:37