Choanal atresia (CA) occurs in roughly 1:5000-7000 live births. It affects females twice as often as males, and occurs bilaterally in roughly 50% of cases. Bilateral choanal atresia (BCA) is typically repaired in the newborn period as soon as the child is medically stable; tracheostomy for BCA alone has been widely abandoned. Unilateral CA repair is often deferred until age 2-3 years. Traditional techniques of endoscopic repair involved placing stents in the nasopharynx traditionally made of cut and shaped endotracheal tubes or silicon tubing stents. Stentless repair offers the advantage of decreased foreign body reaction in the nasopharynx causing granulation and scarring, and involves much less maintenance for families after discharge. In this technique, the procedure is performed endoscopically by opening the atresia bilaterally, drilling out pterygoid bone as needed, and removal of the posterior septum and vomer. Normal mucosa is preserved as much as possible to prevent scarring and restenosis. Postoperatively, babies are empirically treated with reflux medications and a short course of antibiotic and steroid drops in the nose; a second look procedure is recommended 4-6 weeks postop to ensure healing and confirm patency.
Editor Recruited By: Sanjay Parikh, MD, FACS