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Subglottic Stenosis

Subglottic Stenosis

MEDICAL CONDITION

Subglottic stenosis is a medical condition characterized by the narrowing or constriction of the subglottic region, which is the lower part of the larynx (voice box) located just below the vocal cords. This narrowing of the airway can lead to breathing difficulties and voice changes

Causes

Several factors can contribute to acquired subglottic stenosis, including: 

 

  • Intubation - Prolonged or repeated use of an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) during surgery or mechanical ventilation can irritate and damage the subglottic area.

  • Infections - Severe respiratory infections or inflammation, such as croup or bacterial tracheitis, can lead to scarring and narrowing of the subglottic region.

  • Injuries - Trauma to the neck, larynx, or trachea can result in subglottic stenosis.

  • Reflux - Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to acid irritation and scarring of the subglottic area.

Symptoms

The symptoms of subglottic stenosis can vary depending on the degree of narrowing but commonly include:  

 

  • Noisy or high-pitched breathing (stridor)

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity

  • Hoarseness or changes in the voice

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Frequent respiratory infections

SGS is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination and the patient's medical history. The doctor may also perform certain tests, such as a laryngoscopy or a bronchoscopy, to visualize the airway and assess the severity of the narrowing.

Have questions?

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(754) 888-1368

Other concerns?

Learn more about conditions and treatment for Throat & Voice at ENT Family in Broward County, accessible from Miami, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Aventura.

Treatment

Treatment for subglottic stenosis depends on its cause and severity.

 

  • Medical Management - Mild cases may be managed with medications to reduce inflammation or manage underlying conditions like GERD. 

  • Dilation - In some cases, minimally invasive procedures like balloon dilation can be used to widen the subglottic area.

  • Laryngotracheal Reconstruction - Severe or congenital cases may require surgical reconstruction of the subglottic area to remove scar tissue and widen the airway.

  • Tracheostomy - In life-threatening cases or when other treatments are not effective, a temporary or permanent tracheostomy (a surgical opening in the neck to provide an alternative airway) may be necessary. 

 

The choice of treatment depends on the individual's age, overall health, the cause and severity of the stenosis, and other factors. Early diagnosis and appropriate management are essential to prevent complications and improve the quality of life for individuals with subglottic stenosis. Long-term follow-up care may also be necessary to monitor and manage the condition.

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