Objective: Among a wide variety of tracheostomy techniques, a vertical tracheal incision and a horizontal incision with creation of an inferior base tracheal flap have been favorized in children in the past. The aim of this study was to determine surgical and postoperative stoma complications after performing these two types of tracheal incision in tracheostomy in children.
Methods: A 6-year, prospective, observational cohort study was undertaken in 24 children (range, 0.03 month-15 years) at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Ulm. All children who underwent an elective tracheostomy were included in this study. Early and late local disorders in wound healing of the tracheal stoma and the clinical follow-up of both groups (Flap group and Vertical group) were analyzed.
Results: Formation of granulation tissue and tracheal stenosis were the most observed local disorders in both groups. Granulation tissue at the level of the stoma was the most frequently observed complication in the Flap group (4/12; 33%), whereas in the Vertical group only one child showed granulation tissue around the stoma (1/7; 14%). The difference between both groups was statistically not significant. The overall mortality rate 1 year after tracheostomy was 25% (6/24) and the tracheostomy-related death rate was 4% (1/24). An association of wound healing disorders with a feasible lethal outcome was not found after both tracheostomy types. There were no differences in the outcome between both tracheal incision types.
Conclusions: Both types of tracheal incision proved to be a suitable surgical procedure for temporary or permanent tracheostomy in pediatric patients.