Anterior mediastinal tracheostomy with and without cervical exenteration

Ann Thorac Surg. 1992 Oct;54(4):628-36; discussion 636-7. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(92)91005-t.


Anterior mediastinal tracheostomy (AMT) facilitates resection of stomal recurrences after laryngectomy for carcinoma and tumors involving the cervicothoracic trachea and esophagus. Erosion of the innominate artery has been reported as a frequent major complication of AMT, and routine prophylactic division of the innominate artery with AMT has even been advised. Forty-four patients underwent AMT, 10 as an isolated procedure (for stomal recurrence [5], laryngeal carcinoma [1], or benign stenosis after laryngectomy [4]) and 34 with concomitant cervical exenteration (laryngopharyngoesophagectomy) for laryngeal, thyroid, or cervicothoracic esophageal malignancies. Transposition of the remaining tracheal stump beneath and to the right of the innominate artery to eliminate tension on the vessel was carried out in 14 patients (32%). Postoperatively, anastomotic leaks complicated nine of 31 pharyngogastric anastomoses. Iatrogenic hypoparathyroidism occurred in 10 patients. All six hospital deaths (14%) occurred in patients undergoing AMT with cervical exenteration, not isolated AMT. There was only one instance of innominate artery erosion. Survival was related to the pathology for which AMT was performed. Anterior mediastinal tracheostomy is a valuable adjunct in the treatment of select patients with malignancies of the cervicothoracic trachea and esophagus, and with attention to operative detail, innominate artery erosion should rarely, if ever, complicate the operation. Prophylactic division of the innominate artery with AMT is unnecessary.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm / blood supply
  • Arteries / surgery
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Esophagus / surgery
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypoparathyroidism / epidemiology
  • Hypoparathyroidism / etiology
  • Larynx / surgery
  • Male
  • Mediastinum
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Pharynx / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Survival Rate
  • Trachea / surgery
  • Tracheostomy / methods*
  • Tracheostomy / mortality
  • Treatment Outcome