Supraglottoplasty in neonates and infants: A radiofrequency ablation approach

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Background:Supraglottoplasty is the mainstay of surgical treatment for laryngomalacia. A novel supraglottoplasty surgical technique is needed to achieve better efficacy. The purpose of this study was to introduce modified microscopic radiofrequency ablation supraglottoplasty (MMRAS) for the treatment of congenital laryngomalacia and to evaluate the outcome and effectiveness of this novel approach.Methods:Seventeen children with severe laryngomalacia who underwent MMRAS were studied retrospectively. Supraglottoplasty of type III laryngomalacia was different from classical method. All the patients were kept intubated for 5 days after surgery to achieve a better epiglottal position and to avoid reconglutination of aryepiglottic folds. The patients’ demographic information, symptoms, comorbidities, type of laryngomalacia, synchronous airway lesions and final outcomes were examined.Results:The median age at the time of surgery was 3.36 months (3 months 10 days). Operative indications included feeding difficulties, noisy breathing or respiratory distress (or both), and sleep-related symptoms. The MMRAS success rate was 82.4%. Most patients were extubated successfully on postoperative day 5. The major postoperative complication was pulmonary infection which occurred in 3 cases (17.6%) and required anti-infective therapy. No perioperative deaths and no long-term complications occurred. Failures were observed in 3 (17.6%) of 17 cases, 2 patients presented with a neurological disease and required tracheostomy, 1 patient relapsed because of postoperative adhesions and later underwent revision supraglottoplasty.Conclusions:From these results, we conclude that MMRAS is an effective and safe treatment for symptomatic laryngomalacia and has the potential to provide better breathing, feeding, and sleeping outcomes in children with severe laryngomalacia. Postoperative intubation for 5 days may result in better therapeutic outcomes. Multicenter cooperative studies of comparison between MMRAS and conventional approaches would lend further evidence-based support for this surgical method.

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