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Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Neonatal airway

The ability to quickly assess and treat newborn airway problems is vital to a successful outcome. The causes of neonatal airway obstruction are varied and are unique to paediatrics. The approach involves first defining the level of obstruction (where is the lesion?), and next identifying the specific pathologic entity (what is the lesion?). The assessment begins at the nose and proceeds all the way to the the chest wall. Every attempt is made to treat the primary cause in order to avoid the need for neonatal tracheotomy. A partial list of potential airway problems unique to the neonate with select specific examples is listed below:

Level of Obstruction



Craniofacial Anomalies

  • Pierre Robin Sequence
  • Treacher-Collins
  • Crouzons



  • Lymphatic Malformations (Cystic Hygroma)
  • Teratoma





Chest wall (Mechanical / Neuromuscular)

  • Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy
  • Muscular Dystrophies