"Starplasty" prevents tracheotomy complications in infants

Ron Eliashar*, Menachem Gross, Pierre Attal, Eitan Hocwald, Jean Yves Sichel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: The average age of children undergoing tracheotomy has declined over the years and the indications for tracheotomy have changed from acute airway obstruction due to infection, to treatment of chronically ill children. Tracheotomy-related complication rates are more numerous in younger children and in certain cases have proved to be fatal. A variety of operative techniques have been advocated for reducing the rate of tracheotomy-related morbidity and mortality. This manuscript reports on our experience with a new technique - starplasty tracheotomy (SPT) - and assesses the value of this procedure in preventing tracheotomy-related complications in infants (under 6 months old), in whom complications are more frequent and more dangerous. Methods: Children less than 6 months old who underwent tracheotomy in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, between the years 1999 and 2003 were studied. They were divided into two groups according to the surgical technique preferred and performed by the senior surgeon on call. Children in group 1 underwent tracheotomy by means of a regular technique and children in group 2 underwent SPT. All events related to the tracheotomy were recorded and a comparison was made between the two groups. Results: Eleven of a total of 26 pediatric tracheotomy patients were less than 6 months old. Five underwent regular tracheotomy (RT) and six underwent SPT. Three complications were encountered in the RT group and none in the SPT group. Accidental decannulation and failure to re-insert the cannula resulted in severe hypoxemic brain damage in one patient with RT. No tracheotomy-related deaths occurred. Conclusion: Our experience supports the existing data regarding the superiority of SPT over RT in preventing dangerous tracheotomy-related complications in infants. We, therefore, recommend performing SPT in all infants undergoing tracheotomy, even at the price of having to perform surgical closure of TCF after decannulation in some cases.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)325-329
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Infants
  • Pediatric
  • Starplasty
  • Tracheostomy
  • Tracheotomy


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