Airway management of the severely retrognathic child: use of the laryngeal mask airway

Ear Nose Throat J. 2002 Apr;81(4):223-6.


Successful airway management of an infant or child with moderate to severe retrognathia first requires recognition of a potential problem. If the child cannot be intubated in a standard fashion, the use of a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) should be considered. We describe two cases wherein a toddler and an infant with severe retrognathia failed multiple attempts at traditional intubation. Both had an anterior larynx and hypoplasia of the mandible. In both cases, a subsequent LMA was successfully placed. The severely retrognathic newborn or child presents to the physician a unique challenge in airway management. Techniques to manage this difficult pediatric airway are different from those used in the adult. Otolaryngologists should be aware of this intubation technique and include it in their armamentarium of airway-management strategies. The LMA is not recommended as the technique of choice for securing a difficult airway, but it is an effective alternative when indicated, and it might be life-saving.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / surgery*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laryngeal Masks
  • Male
  • Mandibulofacial Dysostosis / complications
  • Retrognathia* / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*