Laryngeal Trauma from Intubation
People have been using tubes inserted down the throat for anesthesia since the 1880s. Endotracheal tubes became routine in anesthesia for thoracic (body cavity) surgery as early as 1910. Their acceptance then led to prolonged intubation in comatose patients and in conscious patients with respiratory diseases. Also, intubation became preferred in neonatal cases over tracheotomy (an incision in the windpipe) for childhood diseases and premature deliveries.
The problem is, it isn’t possible to leave a large anesthetic tube in the larynx without changes and damage occurring.
What begins as irritation, progresses to inflammation, congestion, and edema (excess fluid) within the first few hours after intubation. Although most of this damage usually heals naturally after the tube is removed, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s when the expertise of Coastal Ear, Nose, and Throat can be needed.
Radiation-induced Laryngeal Injury
Chondronecrosis of the larynx is a rare complication encountered in otolaryngology. Incidence may have increased more recently with the increased use of chemotherapy and radiation. When present, chondronecrosis can have severe sequelae. Causes include radiation therapy, relapsing polychondritis, long- and short-term intubation, infection, trauma, tracheotomy, and neoplasms.