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Anterior and posterior cartilage graft dimensions in successful laryngotracheal reconstruction.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the dimensions of cartilage grafts used for successful laryngotracheal reconstruction, with the goal of establishing appropriate sizes for "off-the-shelf" tissue-engineered cartilage grafts.

DESIGN: A retrospective review of prospectively maintained operative illustrations of a single surgeon's experience.

SETTING: Two tertiary children's hospitals.

PATIENTS: A consecutive sample of 54 patients (tracheotomized or intubated) with a diagnosis of subglottic stenosis.

INTERVENTIONS: Each patient underwent anterior (n = 30), posterior (n = 3), or anterior and posterior (n = 22) laryngotracheal reconstruction. Rib cartilage was used in 51 patients and thyroid cartilage was used in 3 patients.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Successful or failed extubation.

RESULTS: Of the 54 patients, 48 (89%) were successfully decannulated. The mean +/- SEM length of the anterior graft was 20.7 +/- 10.3 mm, and the mean width of the anterior graft was 7.7 +/- 2.5 mm. The mean length of the posterior graft was 13.9 +/- 2.9 mm, and the mean width of the posterior graft was 4.2 +/- 0.9 mm.

CONCLUSIONS: With the prospect of tissue-engineered cartilage implants becoming available for laryngotracheal reconstruction, the most appropriate templates for designing these implants should be based on the geometric dimensions of grafts carved from native tissues in cases that have been successfully decannulated. Based on our analysis, the use of 2-mm increments for the posterior grafts suggests a set of molds that are 2, 4, and 6 mm wide and 22 mm long. Using 2 x 2-mm increments for the anterior grafts indicates that 36 mold sizes will be sufficient for 90% of predicted cases.

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