French doctors have performed the first full reconstruction of a child’s trachea


French doctors performed, for the first time, a complete reconstruction of trachea in a child, with her own tissues. Four years later, the operation is a success and the girl is doing well.

In 2014, a 12-year-old girl suffering from tracheal stenosis (insufficient development of the trachea and bronchi), was the first child to benefit from a complete reconstruction of the trachea. This technique was developed in adults in 2010 at Marie Lannelongue hospital (in the Paris region). Four years later, the results of this world premiere are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The young patient had already benefited from a tracheobronchoplasty slip at the age of 9 months. Other surgeries had to follow over the years because her growth prevented the recovery of a sufficient tracheal size. As her breathing deteriorates and her vital prognosis becomes apparent, doctors at Marie Lannelongue Hospital had no choice but to carry out this emergency reconstruction.

They then took muscle tissue from the girl’s back and “cocked” pieces of cartilage recovered from her ribs.

This assembly was then placed on a silicone tracheal prosthesis which was removed nine days after the operation.

A tracheostomy (incision at the level of the trachea with insertion of an open tube on the outside) was performed at the junction between the native trachea and the new trachea. It has been maintained for more than 2 years for security reasons and to facilitate examinations.

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At present, this technique is the safest. “In the absence of currently reliable alternative techniques, including those using cell and tissue biotherapy, this first global success appears to be an indisputable advance in the management of severe and extensive tracheal pediatric disorders,” the report said.

Today, the 16-year-old has returned to normal life, but continues to be followed on the respiratory front.

Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.