• Airway Reconstruction

    The Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s is the worldwide leader in performing pediatric airway reconstructions. We combine world-class surgeons, cutting-edge research, multidisciplinary care and a specialized support staff to provide the best care for roughly 122 children a year.

    Our team has performed more than 2,750 airway reconstructions, treating patients from the United States, Canada, the Middle East, South America, Australia, South Africa and Asia. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Robin T. Cotton, MD, FACS, FRCS(C) and our team of highly skilled surgeons -- including Michael Rutter, MD, Alessandro de Alarcon, MD, MPH, and Catherine Hart, MD -- we perform more than five times the number of open pediatric airway reconstructions than any other medical facility in the world.

  • The Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s is expanding the surgical horizons of airway reconstruction. We utilize new techniques and procedures, and are researching new ways to use topical steroids and antibiotics in our patient’s treatment plans.

    Cincinnati Children’s is also at the forefront of vocal reconstruction, an issue that sometimes does not appear until a child reaches the teenage years. Our team studies a wide range of vocal outcomes from airway reconstruction surgeries, and is using that information to offer solutions to children experiencing voice issues.

    We strive to assess all aspects of a child and individualize a treatment plan that encompasses all levels of care. If surgery is the best option, we have the expertise to customize the procedure to meet all of your child’s medical needs. We firmly believe that it’s more than just the airway reconstruction operation that gives a child a successful outcome.

    Airway reconstructions are not always straightforward procedures. The specialized team of surgeons at Cincinnati Children’s has performed more open airway reconstructions than anywhere else in the world, helping to ensure that your child will receive experienced, comprehensive and dedicated care.

    Airway reconstructions include procedures involving the area from the top of the voice box to the trachea. Hundreds of procedures fall into two main categories under airway reconstruction:

    • Open airway procedures – made with a neck incision into the airway
    • Endoscopic procedures (such as microscopic laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy) – done through the mouth, limiting the need for an incision in the neck.

    At Cincinnati Children's, we perform airway reconstructions for children with breathing difficulties due to congenital defects or as a result of medical procedures. Candidates for airway reconstruction include:

    Airway reconstructions are performed on children with breathing difficulties resulting from congenital defects, external injury or medical procedures, and who are experiencing:

    The four most common types of open airway reconstruction procedures include:

    • Laryngotracheal reconstruction with cartilage grafting
    • Cricotracheal resection (CTR)
    • Tracheal resection
    • Slide tracheoplasty

    These procedures either reconstruct or expand segments of the airway, depending on the child’s unique needs.

    At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, we take a holistic approach to assessing and diagnosing our patients. Instead of sending your child to various doctor appointments and diagnostic tests spanning weeks − or even months − we try to perform all exams and tests within a few days.

    Our integrated approach allows doctors in multiple disciplines to work together to determine the best course of action for your child. Often, children have a variety of medical issues that need to be addressed, and our team provides coordinated care for each child. Your child’s needs are discussed with you and your family, leading to an integrated, customized treatment plan.

    In addition to dedicated surgeons and physicians, we provide excellent peri-operative and post-operative care, from anesthesia and the Intensive Care Unit, to swallowing and voice rehabilitation. We ensure that each child receives the care she needs, for as long as she needs it. When your child is a patient at Cincinnati Children’s, you receive the benefit of not just one doctor’s opinion, but an entire community of doctors all striving for a positive outcome.

  • Meet Some of Our Patients

    Meet Sam

    Read Sam's story.

    Sam Dalseide was born 15 weeks early and, like many preemies, experienced a number of medical problems. His parents eventually came to the Aerodigestive and Sleep Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for the treatment he needed. Read Sam's story