Swallowing Function After Epiglottopexy in Children

Ashley E. Young, Laura Hinkes-Molinaro, Jonathan Ida, Taher Valika, Saied Ghadersohi, Dana M. Thompson, Inbal Hazkani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Epiglottopexy has been an increasingly utilized intervention in children with epiglottic prolapse and airway obstruction. Given the role of the epiglottis in protecting the airway during swallowing and the potential effect of repositioning the epiglottis on the passage of the bolus, we aimed to compare swallowing outcomes before and after epiglottopexy in children. Study Design: A retrospective cohort study. Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital. Methods: Data were extracted from charts of children who underwent epiglottopexy and had a subsequent instrumental swallowing evaluation between January 2018 and September 2022. Results: A total of 93 patients underwent epiglottopexy. Of these, 38 patients met inclusion requirements. The mean age at surgery was 41 ± 47 months. Most patients (n = 37, 97.4%) had significant comorbidities such as secondary airway lesions (n = 33, 91.7%), a genetic or syndromic disorder (n = 25, 69.4%), and dysphagia (n = 29, 76.3%). All patients had a concurrent procedure at the time of epiglottopexy with supraglottoplasty (n = 24, 63.2%) and lingual tonsillectomy (n = 16, 42.1%) being the most common. No changes in initiation or patterns of swallowing were noted postoperatively. A total of 7 (18.4%) patients had worsening swallow function: 2 had new-onset dysphagia, and 5 had worsening pre-existing dysphagia. Liquid or food textures penetrated remained unchanged or improved in most cases. No risk factors for worsening dysphagia were identified in our cohort. Conclusion: Children with medical comorbidities undergoing epiglottopexy with additional airway interventions may experience new or worsening dysphagia. However, the procedure is generally safe without notable patterned changes in the swallowing mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-567
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • epiglottic prolapse
  • epiglottopexy
  • laryngomalacia
  • pediatric dysphagia
  • swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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