Congenital lesions of larynx

Congenital lesions of the larynx are abnormalities that are present at birth and involve the structures of the larynx, which is the voice box located in the neck. These lesions can affect various components of the larynx, including the vocal cords, cartilages, and surrounding tissues. Here are some common congenital lesions of the larynx:

  1. Laryngomalacia:
  • Laryngomalacia is one of the most common congenital laryngeal anomalies.
  • It is characterized by the collapse of the supraglottic structures (above the vocal cords) during inspiration, leading to a characteristic “omega-shaped” epiglottis.
  • Symptoms may include noisy breathing (stridor), especially during inhalation, and difficulty feeding. It often resolves on its own as the child grows.
  1. Vocal Cord Paralysis:
  • Congenital vocal cord paralysis occurs when there is a lack of movement in one or both vocal cords due to nerve abnormalities.
  • It can lead to respiratory difficulties, stridor, and hoarse or weak cry.
  • The recurrent laryngeal nerve, responsible for vocal cord movement, may be affected.
  1. Subglottic Stenosis:
  • Subglottic stenosis involves the narrowing of the airway just below the vocal cords.
  • It can be congenital or acquired and may cause respiratory distress, stridor, and difficulty breathing.
  • Congenital subglottic stenosis may be associated with other congenital anomalies.
  1. Laryngeal Clefts:
  • Laryngeal clefts are openings or gaps in the tissue between the larynx and the esophagus.
  • They can lead to aspiration (entry of food or liquids into the airway) and respiratory issues.
  • The severity of clefts varies, and surgical intervention may be required.
  1. Congenital Laryngeal Webs:
  • Laryngeal webs are thin membranes or bands of tissue that partially block the airway in the larynx.
  • They can cause stridor and respiratory difficulties, particularly during inhalation.
  1. Hemangiomas and Vascular Anomalies:
  • Hemangiomas or vascular anomalies can occur in the larynx and may affect the airway.
  • Depending on the size and location, they can cause respiratory distress or obstructive symptoms.
  1. Congenital Laryngeal Atresia:
  • Laryngeal atresia involves a complete closure or absence of the laryngeal inlet.
  • It is a rare condition that can cause severe respiratory distress and is often incompatible with life.

Management of congenital lesions of the larynx depends on the specific type and severity of the anomaly. Treatment may involve medical management, surgical intervention, or a combination of both, with the goal of ensuring proper respiratory function and optimal quality of life for the affected individual. Early diagnosis and appropriate intervention are essential for better outcomes. A pediatric otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) is typically involved in the evaluation and management of congenital laryngeal anomalies.