Laryngotracheal (luh-ring-go-TRAY-key-ul) reconstruction surgery widens your windpipe (trachea) to make breathing easier. Laryngotracheal reconstruction involves inserting a small piece of cartilage — stiff connective tissue found in many areas of your body — into the narrowed section of the windpipe to make it wider.

Children most commonly experience problems with a narrowed windpipe, although the problem can also occur in adults. It can occur for many reasons, including injury, infection, stomach acid reflux, a birth defect or as the result of the insertion of a breathing tube. An adult's windpipe can become narrowed for the same reasons, but the cause may also be a disease that causes blood vessel or tissue inflammation, such as Wegener's granulomatosis or sarcoidosis.

The goal of laryngotracheal reconstruction is to provide a safe and stable airway without the use of assistance from a breathing tube. In people who already have a tracheostomy tube to help them breathe, this procedure often makes it possible to get rid of the tracheostomy.

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