Complications and Their Causes

The incidence and distribution of complications were reviewed in our first 365 patients with either primary (n = 56) or secondary neoplasms (n = 30) or with postintubation lesions (n = 279) of the trachea, who underwent resection (Table 21-1).2 As earlier pointed out, this included a "learning curve" from the first patients of the series, when surgical techniques were not developed, which was reflected in decline in mortality, failure, and number of complications found in later patients of the series. The complications of tracheal reconstruction were grouped into three categories: 1) complications due to failure of diagnosis; 2) complications due to failure of technique; and 3) additional miscellaneous complications. These are discussed in this order below.

Postoperative complications have been further analyzed in reports of surgical series, classified by disease and also by type of operation, as our experience grew. By 1995, a total of 503 patients had undergone reconstruction for postintubation lesions, including those previously reported.3 Five required immediate

Table 21-1 Complications of Tracheal Resection
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