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Subglottic Stenosis

When the area immediately below the vocal cords becomes narrowed, the condition is known as subglottic stenosis. This condition can lead to breathing difficulties.


Symptoms of the condition can include:

  • Difficulty with exertion, such as when climbing stairs
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion
  • Loud breathing


Subglottic stenosis has a number of potential causes, including:

  • Placement of a breathing tube
  • Wegener’s Granulomatosis
  • Trauma
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Tumor or cancer


Diagnosing subglottic stenosis correction can be a challenge. Often patients will be treated for other conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis, before an accurate diagnosis is made.

Our experts have the expertise and the state-of-the-art technology to accurately diagnose subglottic stenosis with an in-office examination.

After a topical numbing medication is given, a small camera will be passed through your nose. Your vocal cords, subglottis and trachea will then be examined.

This exam is recorded so your physician can discuss the findings with you in detail.


When subglottic stenosis affects your ability to breathe, treatment is necessary.

There are several ways to treat this condition:

  • Balloon dilation. This is an outpatient procedure that involves dilating the airway with balloons.
  • Tracheal resection. If balloon dilation is not effective, your physician may recommend a tracheal resection, in which the narrow portion of the airway is removed.
  • Laryngotracheal reconstruction. In this procedure, cartilage is used to add circumference to the airway and hold it open.
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