Tracheal stenosis (1481)

Key points below

What is tracheal stenosis?

The trachea, or windpipe, carries air from the nose to the lungs. Stenosis means narrowing. In tracheal stenosis, the trachea is narrow. This may make it hard to breathe. 

Cartilage is a flexible tissue in the body. The trachea stays open because of the cartilage that supports it. The cartilage in the trachea makes C-shaped rings in front of the trachea. There is usually no cartilage in the back of the trachea. 

There are two types of stenosis: trachea

What causes it?

What are the symptoms?

How is it diagnosed?

How is it treated?

Treatment depends on how many tracheal rings are present and how bad the symptoms are. If it’s mild, the doctor may watch and wait to see if symptoms improve. Medicines may be recommended to improve breathing problems.

Surgery may be needed. 

After surgery, your child may go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to recover. The doctor may insert a breathing tube down the throat for a short time. This is called intubation and will help your child breathe while the trachea heals. Medicine will also be given to keep your child sleepy or still for several days. Your child may have another bronchoscopy to see how the trachea is healing.

Your child will go home when the airway is healed enough to keep breathing comfortably. Your child’s doctor will decide when a follow-up bronchoscopy is needed to check the progress.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has:

  • A hard time breathing.
  • A change in skin color.
  • A temperature of 101.5° F (38.5° C).
  • Special health care needs that were not covered by this information.