For a long time, primary tumors arising less than 2 cm distal to the carina have presented a contraindication to surgical excision. Tracheal sleeve pneumonectomy technique allows carinal resection and reconstruction but still carries considerable postoperative complications. From 1983 to 1992 we performed 27 right tracheal sleeve pneumonectomies and one left. Fourteen patients had N0 nodes, nine had N1, and five had N2. No anastomotic complications, either fistula or stenosis, were observed. Successful outcome depends on meticulous attention to surgical details and careful anaesthetic management with a new ventilation tube. One patient died on the twenty-second postoperative day from myocardial infarction. Complications included pneumonia (one), vocal cord paresis (two), and pleural empyema without bronchial fistula (one). Conservative treatment allowed complete recovery from all complications. There are seven patients alive at 4 years after operation and one at 5 years. Six patients have been disease-free for between 1 and 32 months. Two patients died free of disease at 13 and 42 months. Two patients died of mediastinal recurrence and 10 of distant metastases within 6 and 54 months.