Airway complications from topical mitomycin C

Elizabeth McCurdy Hueman, C. Blake Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Topical application of mitomycin C appears to be a useful adjunct in reducing cicatricial scarring of the airways. Human and animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of mitomycin C topically in the treatment of airway stenosis at concentrations ranging from 0.4 mg/mL to 10 mg/mL. Although no reports of mitomycin C toxicity have been reported in the otolaryngology literature, the ophthalmologic literature has documented serious, vision-threatening complications resulting from the use of topical mitomycin C. The purpose of this study is to report complications related to mitomycin C use in the treatment of glottic and subglottic stenosis. Risk factors associated with these complications are identified. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: A retrospective chart review of all patients treated by the senior author for laryngotracheal stenosis with endoscopic CO2 laser incisions/dilation and adjuvant topical mitomycin C was performed to determine the incidence of complications. Variables studied included patient age and gender, location and severity of stenosis, medical comorbidities, length of procedure, postoperative instrumentation of the airway, and mitomycin C concentration. RESULTS: Eighty-five cases of adjuvant topical mitomycin C use after CO2 laser endoscopic treatment and dilation for upper airway stenosis were identified in a total of 44 patients. Complications that were believed to be caused by the local toxicity of mitomycin C occurred in 4 cases out of 85 (or 4.7%), manifested by accumulation of fibrinous debris at the operative site, resulting in partial airway obstruction and the need for emergent airway intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Caution should be exercised when topical mitomycin C is used in the treatment of airway stenosis. EBM RATING: B-3

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-835
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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