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Tracheal surgery

The surgeons at the Tracheal Disorders Program have only one goal: to ensure that your child thrives. This goal has driven the team to push the boundaries of surgical care for tracheal disorders.

Some of the procedures performed at Children’s were pioneered here and have changed lives of children across the country. Since 2009, the Tracheal Disorders Program at Children’s has performed over 60 tracheal surgeries.

Following, learn more about the particular surgical procedures performed at Children’s:

Open airway reconstruction

In these types of surgeries, access to the trachea is created by making an incision in the neck. Open airway reconstruction can be separated into two different categories of surgery: simple and complex.

Simple open airway reconstruction

Simple open airway reconstruction usually involves a tracheal resection. In a resection, an affected part of the airway is removed and the remaining part placed back together. This surgery is usually most fitting for patients with tumors of the airway or tracheal/bronchial stenosis.

Learn more about tracheal/bronchial stenosis and other condition of the trachea

Complex open airway reconstruction

Children’s is home to one of only a handful of programs in the country that have performed complex open airway reconstruction. The tracheal team performs two types of these surgeries:

  • Slide tracheoplasty – this type of airway reconstruction surgery is best suited for long-segment tracheal stenosis or complete tracheal rings.
  • Bronchoplasty – this complex surgery, in which the bronchus is repaired, mainly treats types of bronchial fistulas.

Closed airway reconstruction

Our surgeons perform these surgeries without opening the patient’s neck. As a result, these surgeries are less invasive than open airway surgeries. Minimally invasive surgery means less pain and shorter recovery time. Closed airway reconstruction surgeries include:

  • Tracheopexy – This procedure, also known as anterior tracheal suspension, was developed at Children’s to treat tracheal/bronchial malacia. The technique avoids the creation of a tracheostomy.
  • Aortapexy – Also designed to treat tracheal/bronchial malacia, this procedure is mainly used in severe cases.

Other tracheal surgeries

  • Innominate artery suspension – Surgeons perform this procedure to correct conditions that exert pressure on the esophagus or windpipe such as pulmonary artery slings.
  • Surgical revision of vascular rings

Learn more about pulmonary artery slings and other conditions of the trachea

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To make an appointment, call the Airway and Digestive Center clinician.

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Born without a trachea, baby’s life saved by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Born without a trachea, baby’s life saved by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Never before in the United States has a baby survived when born without a trachea. That changed earlier this year when a team of surgeons performed an innovative series of procedures they had never done before — saving the life of Thomas Richards. Learn more.

Proud to be a Level I Children’s Surgery Center

The highest-rated pediatric surgical center in Wisconsin

Recognized by the American College of Surgeons, our Level I verification represents the highest level of recognition for hospitals that perform complex surgical procedures in newborns and children. Learn more about this recognition.