Role of balloon dilation in the management of adult idiopathic subglottic stenosis

Kenneth H. Lee, Michael J. Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objectives: We evaluated the efficacy of balloon dilation for adjunctive and symptomatic management of isolated idiopathic subglottic stenosis in adults. Methods: Adults with airway obstruction symptoms classified as idiopathic subglottic stenosis based on history and findings of a single discrete stenotic area on microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy were included in this series. Patients who met these criteria underwent dilation with a 10- to 14-mm balloon in a single procedure or in 2 consecutive dilations within 7 days. The patients were followed for up to 30 months after dilation. Results: Six patients met the criteria. One of the 6 had prior laser treatments and a cricotracheal resection. One patient had a previous scar band lysis procedure. The remaining 4 patients had no prior procedures. The airway sizes prior to dilation ranged from a 2.5 endotracheal tube to a 5.0 endotracheal tube. In all cases the airway was dilated to 2.0 to 3.5 endotracheal tube sizes larger than the initial size. To date, 4 patients have been followed for 10 to 30 months without symptoms of recurrent airway stenosis. One patient was symptom-free for 22 months, then presented with progressive airway difficulty following an upper respiratory tract infection, and has undergone a repeat dilation. No patients had adverse effects or complications from the procedure. Conclusions: Balloon dilation of idiopathic subglottic stenosis in adults is a relatively safe and effective method to manage this disease entity for cases of isolated and discrete lesions. Patients who underwent a single procedure have remained symptom-free for up to 30 months after balloon dilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Balloon dilation
  • Idiopathic subglottic stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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