Pediatric Post Airway Reconstructive Hoarseness

Pediatric Post Airway Reconstructive Hoarseness

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Summary

Post airway reconstructive hoarseness occurs after a child undergoes surgery to repair the airway. Hoarseness can also occur after a child is intubated (when a breathing tube is placed inside the throat) during surgery or for an extended period.

Expanded Overview

Certain conditions require surgery to a child’s airway. The airway is comprised of the pharynx (where the nose and mouth meet to connect them to the esophagus), larynx (voice box) and trachea (cartilage tubes that go from the larynx to the bronchi). After surgery, the child may develop a hoarse voice.

Causes

Surgeries that could lead to post airway reconstructive hoarseness include:

  • Thyroid surgery – surgery on the thyroid, a hormone producing gland located near the larynx
  • Laryngoplasty – surgery to rebuild vocal cords
  • Laryngotracheal reconstruction (LTR) – surgery to widen the windpipe or trachea so a child can breathe easier
  • Cricotracheal resection – reconstruction surgery that removes a narrowed portion of the airway and reconnects it
  • Cervical tracheoplasty – surgery to widen the trachea
  • Tracheal resection – surgery to repair a narrow trachea
  • Cricoid split – surgery that enlarges part of the airway
  • Postoperative airway stenting – placing a stent during surgery to keep the airway open while the patient heals

Symptoms

The main symptom of post airway reconstructive hoarseness is a hoarse (harsh, raspy or strained) voice. Postoperative airway stenting can also cause temporary or long-term changes in voice depending on the location of the stent and the duration that it remains in place.

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