Severe micrognathia: Indications for EXIT-to-Airway

Lee M. Morris, Foong Yen Lim, Ravindhra G. Elluru, Robert J. Hopkin, Ronald K. Jaekle, William J. Polzin, Timothy M. Crombleholme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure has become an important management option in cases of fetal airway obstruction. Select cases of severe micrognathia may be candidates for EXIT-to-Airway due to high-risk of airway obstruction at birth. Here we present three successful EXIT-to-Airway procedures for the management of congenital micrognathia in its most severe manifestations. Case 1: A 23-year-old G3P1011 with a pregnancy complicated by severe micorgnathia, jaw index <5th percentile, as well as polyhydramnios. At 36 weeks EXIT-to-Airway was performed utilizing a bronchoscopically positioned laryngeal mask airway (LMA) during 23 min of uteroplacental support followed by tracheostomy. Case 2: A 26-year-old G4P0120 with a pregnancy complicated by severe micrognathia, jaw index <5th percentile, and an obstructed oropharynx associated with polyhydramnios. At 37 weeks EXIT-to-Airway was performed with placement of tracheostomy. Case 3: A 36-year-old G6P3023 with fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealing esophageal atresia, polyhydramnios, and severe micrognathia with a jaw index <5th percentile. At 35 weeks the patient underwent EXIT-to-Airway with formal tracheostomy during 35 min of uteroplacental bypass. In the most severe cases of fetal micrognathia, EXIT-to-Airway provides time to evaluate and secure the fetal airway prior to delivery. We propose indications for EXIT-to-Airway in micrognathia to include a jaw index <5%, with indirect evidence of aerodigestive tract obstruction such as polyhydramnios, glossoptosis or an absent stomach bubble.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • EXIT
  • Jaw Index
  • Micrognathia
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Severe micrognathia: Indications for EXIT-to-Airway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this