Information for the public

This procedure can be used for babies, children and young people because it works well and there are no serious concerns about its safety in this condition.

However, there is not enough evidence about how well this procedure works for adults. So, it can only be done with special arrangements. This means you will have regular appointments afterwards to check how well it is working or if it has caused problems.

In people of all ages, this type of procedure can cause complications such as tracheal lacerations.

Narrowing of the airway between the throat and the lungs (a subglottic stenosis or a tracheal stenosis) can cause difficulty breathing. It can happen after you have had a tube in your airway to help you breathe, after surgery to the airway or you can be born with it. Under a general anaesthetic, a tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) is inserted down the throat and used to guide a deflated balloon into the narrowed part of the airway. The balloon is inflated for a short time, then deflated and removed. The aim is to widen (dilate) the airway and improve symptoms.

The NHS website may have information on your condition and treatment options.

You can search the NHS website for information about consultants and hospitals that offer this procedure.

Is this procedure right for me?

You should be included in making decisions about your care.

Your healthcare professionals should explain the risks and benefits of this procedure and how it is done. They should discuss your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. They should offer you more information about the procedure. Your family or carers can be involved if you want or need them to be.

You will be asked to decide whether you agree (consent) to have the procedure. Find out more about giving consent to treatment on the NHS website.

Some questions to think about

  • How many appointments will I need?
  • What are the possible benefits? How likely am I to get them?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • Will I have to stay in hospital?
  • What happens if it does not work or something goes wrong?
  • What happens if I do not want the procedure?
  • Are other treatments available?

More information

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