Acquired nasopharyngeal stenosis: A warning and review

Carla Giannoni, Marcelle Sulek, Ellen M. Friedman, Newton Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Objectives: To present and discuss the clinical presentation and treatment planning in children with acquired nasopharyngeal stenosis (NPS) following tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Design: Case series. Setting: Tertiary care center. Patients and Other Participants: Nine children identified over 2 years (1995-1996) with newly diagnosed NPS were evaluated. Seven of these children underwent adenoidectomy using a potassium titanyl phosphate laser technique at a neighboring facility. These children were aged 15.6 to 62.1 months at the time of original surgery, and all presented with nasal obstruction and mouth breathing beginning within 10 weeks after surgery. In addition, 5 had newly documented obstructive sleep apnea. Results: Of the 9 children, 1 required a tracheotomy. After undergoing an adenoidectomy, chronic rhinosinusitis developed and aggressive medical treatment failed in 4 children. Time from symptom onset to diagnosis of NPS ranged from 2 to 34 months. The diagnosis of NPS depends on obtaining a thorough medical history and conducting a physical examination that includes nasopharyngoscopy. Most children underwent a computed tomographic scan prior to repair. The scarring encountered in these patients involved the soft palate and the posterior pharyngeal wall and/or choanae bilaterally. Five children had no identifiable eustachian tube opening into the nasopharynx, and all 5 children had chronic otitis media with effusion or persistent otorrhea. Conclusions: Nasopharyngeal stenosis following adenoidectomy and/or tonsillectomy is difficult to correct. Multiple surgeries may be required to relieve the obstruction. Standard operative techniques using the lateral pharyngeal flap and transpalatal or endoscopic intranasal approaches were adapted to the clinical situation. Prolonged use of nasal stents is mandatory to produce a nasopharyngeal opening. Adjunctive treatment may include pressure equilization tubes. However, the best treatment remains prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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