Tracheal Resection

Tracheal resection is a surgery performed to remove a narrowed portion of a patient’s trachea or windpipe.  This surgery may be performed for a patient with tracheal stenosis, which is often because o a scar in the airway.  Scars in the airway may occur as a result of trauma, as a result of an endotracheal tube or breathing tube, or may form for unknown reasons.   Tracheal resection may also be performed if a cancer originates from or invades the airway.

Tracheal resection is a surgery that is performed with a patient asleep through a cut on the neck.  The narrowed portion of the trachea is identified and removed.  The upper and lower normal portions of the trachea are then reattached to one another with stitches.

To release tension on the area of anastamosis (or joining segement) maneuvers such as tracheal release, or suprahyoid release may be performed.  This allows for increased manipulation of the two ends to provide for closure of the defect.

After surgery a breathing tube may be placed into the airway while the trachea heals.  A stitch between the chin and chest, known as a Grillo stitch may also be placed to remove any tension from the trachea.

The recurrent laryngeal nerves travel on either side of the trachea from the chest to the larynx or voice box to control vocal fold motion, sound production, and coordination of breathing and swallowing.  Damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerves is possible after tracheal resection, which could potentially weaken the voice.  Breakdown at the area of stitch placement, or anastamotic site is a risk of this surgery as well.