Health Library
Slide Tracheoplasty

What is Slide Tracheoplasty?

A slide tracheoplasty is a surgery done to make the airway larger. An incision is made on the chest to open up the airway and the heart. Cardiopulmonary bypass may be used to allow oxygen and blood flow to continue during the procedure. However, there are some children who do not need cardiopulmonary bypass if the complete rings are higher in the airway and the lower trachea is normal. This surgery can be done through an incision on the neck.

During surgery, the trachea is opened in the front and the back. It is then slid up on itself and reconnected to make the trachea shorter, but much wider. If the child has other vascular or heart abnormalities, the cardiothoracic surgeon may correct these as well.

Slide Tracheoplasty-diagram

C) Inside view of the airway. The “O” shaped tracheal rings are opened in the front and the back.

D) The tracheal rings are reconnected by sliding up on themselves.

E) Shows what the airway looks like after it is reconnected.

F) Sometimes there can be an area where the rings are reconnected to make it look like a figure 8. This gets better as the airway heals.

Before the Procedure

Same day surgery will call you to go over the needed preparations prior to your child’s surgery.

After the Procedure

After surgery, your child will have a breathing tube (also called intubation tube) in place. While the breathing tube is in place, your child will stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU doctors will closely monitor your child’s total care, while the ENT doctors will closely monitor the airway. While in the ICU, medications may be given to help prevent your child from pulling out the breathing tube. These medications make your child sleepy and comfortable.

The ENT doctor will decide when to remove the breathing tube. Once the breathing tube is removed, your child’s breathing is closely watched. When the sleepy medications are stopped, some children experience jitteriness or slight unsteadiness (also called withdrawal) for a short period of time. This is normal and the staff will watch your child closely for any of these symptoms. The ENT doctor will decide when the next microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy are needed, usually before discharge.

Once breathing is stable, your child will be transferred to the airway unit for monitoring. Your child will need to be breathing on their own, tolerate feedings and be well healed before they can leave the hospital.

Call Your Child's Doctor If:

Your child has any trouble breathing.

Restrictions After Surgery

No contact sports or heavy lifting for at least six weeks after surgery.

Last Updated 10/2023

Reviewed By Cheryl Brumbaugh, MSN, APRN, CNP

A Mother's Letter

Mom shares the lessons she learned from her daughter Emma, who was born with Down syndrome, tracheal rings and laryngeal cleft.