The superiorly based flap long-term tracheostomy in pediatric patients

Chung Ku Rhee, Frank R. Miller, Harvey M. Tucker, Isaac Eliachar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Tracheostomy is commonly used to provide control of the upper airway in pediatric patients. The traditional approach, which uses a midline vertical incision in the anterior tracheal wall, is associated with relatively high rates of complications when it is used on a long-term basis. Alternative approaches, such as removing tracheal window or creating tracheal flaps, have been avoided in the pediatric patient because of the risk of tracheal stenosis and the potential for the subsequent effect on tracheal growth. The superiorly based flap tracheostomy (SBFT) has greatly reduced these risks in adults and offers better stomal maintenance, safety, and patient acceptance, but it has not been widely evaluated in pediatric patients. Methods: We reviewed 21 superiorly based flap tracheostomies performed in children at our institution between 1986 and 1993. Routine follow-up assessments included fixed and flexible laryngotracheoscopy. Average follow-up was 17 months. Results: The most common indication for performing the SBFT was bilateral vocal cord paralysis. Short-term complications included wound infection and granuloma in 2 patients. Long- term complications were not observed. One patient died from lower respiratory tract causes. Five of the patients were eventually decannulated, and the stoma closed without laryngotracheal stenosis. Morbidity rates were less and mortality was comparable to those of traditional tracheostomy. Conclusion: We conclude that the SBFT is promising a technique for establishing long-term control of the airway in pediatric patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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