We studied 41 patients who had previously undergone percutaneous dilational tracheostomy at least 6 months following tracheal decannulation. The patients were examined using laryngotracheoscopy and spirometry to assess the long-term anatomical and functional consequences of percutaneous dilational tracheostomy. Apart from one patient who had requested a scar revision, no patient was symptomatic. A significant (> 10%) tracheal stenosis was identified in four asymptomatic patients, two of whom also had spirometric evidence of this obstruction. These results suggest that the long-term outcome after percutaneous tracheostomy is at least as good as that following conventional surgical tracheostomy. Refinements of the percutaneous technique, such as endoscopic guidance, may further improve the results.