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June 1965

Surgical Treatment of Postthyroidectomy Tracheomalacia

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(6):608-615. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00750050623015

O NE OF THE complications of thyroid surgery, and undoubtedly the least frequent, is tracheomalacia.

Tracheomalacia is the softening, degeneration, or absence, congenital or acquired, of all or part of a tracheal ring, or of one or more rings, which produces as a consequence a collapse of the trachea, and consequently a grave alteration in the respiration mechanism, as with each inspiratory movement the tracheal walls collapse, producing an acute respiratory obstruction which produces the death of the patient, unless an emergency tracheostomy is performed.

Therefore, the serious nature of the problem will be easily understood, not only at the moment of the primary operation itself, but also the problem the patient will have in the future, as he will be condemned to carry a tracheostomy forever, unless corrective surgery is undertaken for his tracheomalacia.

In an extensive revision of modern surgical literature, I found only a passing reference to

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