Objective: Surgery is the first line of treatment for laryngotracheal stenosis; Montgomery tube or permanent tracheostomy have been so far the only alternatives. Nd-YAG laser resection and indwelling endotracheal stents have rarely been used in subglottic stenosis for anatomic and technical reasons. We have used the latter approach to optimize the timing of surgery or to achieve palliation without tracheostomy. Methods: Between 1991 and 2001 we have treated 18 patients with subglottic stenosis (10 males, 8 females; age range 14-78, mean 34). The upper margin of the stricture was 2 mm to 1 cm below the vocal cords; the stenotic segment extended from 1.5 to 5 cm. Three patients had tracheostomy done elsewhere. Four patients (Group I) had laser and stenting by a Dumon prosthesis as the only treatment; six had laser and stenting (#4) followed after 1-6 months by laryngotracheal resection (Group II); eight had surgery alone (Group III). Results: In Group I, one patient required repositioning of the stent and in two the stent was removed; two patients died of their underlying disease; at a follow-up of 2-9 years all living patients did well but required permanent aerosolized therapy and periodical bronchoscopy. In Group II, we had two wound infections due to airway colonization by staphylococcus aureus. In Group III, two patients developed anastomotic postoperative stenosis, treated by laser (#2) and stenting (#1), and one patient with previous tracheostomy had a wound infection. Overall, in the 14 surgical patients (Groups II and III) stenosis occurred in 14.2% and infection in 21.3%. After a follow up of 15 months to 12 years, all surgical patients breathe and speak well. Conclusions: Laser resection and endoluminal stenting can be a viable alternative to surgery or optimize the timing of operation in patients with subglottic stenosis.
- Benign laryngotracheal stenosis
- Postintubation tracheal stenosis
- Tracheal surgery