With the advancement of technology, senior investigator Dr. Marc R. Rosen told, lasers offer hope to patients with subglottic stenosis that they can have their tracheotomy tubes removed without invasive surgery and general anesthesia.

A retrospective study of 16 patients was conducted by Dr. Rosen of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. In all, a total of 66 procedures were performed while the patients were adequately sedated, yet still spontaneously breathing.

Four of 7 patients who required tracheostomy tubes at the start of laser bronchoscopy were successfully decannulated. None of the remaining 9 patients required tracheostomy tubes during treatment. All patients had improvement in their symptoms and there were no complications related to airway obstruction or perforation. One episode of bleeding required electrocautery.

Altogether, patients tolerate the procedure very well, the researchers conclude, and, added Dr. Rosen, This minimally invasive technique also offers hope for people that are medically at too high a risk for traditional open surgery.