Tracheal Stenosis

The trachea is a part of the respiratory system. It enables inhaled air to move in and out of our lungs and to maintain and protect the airway. It is a tube-like structure that is found starting from the neck and extending into the thorax or the chest area. Aside from its primary function to allow air to go in and out of the lungs, it also plays an important role in allowing the food that we swallow to travel well down into the stomach.

One of the most common tracheal disorders is called tracheal stenosis. It is the constricting or the narrowing of the airway due to injury, trauma, and inflammatory diseases and for some people, tracheal stenosis is a birth defect that is present during birth.

Symptoms may vary, for some it develops after an acute injury or trauma takes place. For a newborn, the symptoms of tracheal stenosis are more persistent or obvious. It includes recurring pneumonia, wheezing, cyanosis (blue-spells), apnoea (breathing pauses), noisy breathing (stridor) and chest congestion.


Tracheal stenosis can be diagnosed with:

  • X-rays
  • CT or MRI scans
  • Micrularyngoscopy (examination of your larynx while under general anaesthesia)
  • Bronchoscopy (endoscopic technique of visualising the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes)


  • Medications for milder cases
  • Tracheal resection and primary anastomosis for more severe cases. This is a surgery that involves totally removing the scarred portion of the trachea and reconnecting the healthy ends
  • Slide tracheoplasty is another type of tracheal stenosis where in your doctor does not remove the area of narrowing or total resection is not applied. The narrowed trachea is cut across the middle of the stenosis and an incision is made in the back and front of the upper tracheal segment and is slid onto each other, stitched in place, making the airway wider