Proximal Scar Progression in Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis After Wedge Excision: Does it Happen?

Katherine Z. Xie, Andrew Jay Bowen, Bradley A. Richards, Aisha Aden, Joshua Wiedermann, Amy L. Rutt, Robert Vassallo, Eric S. Edell, Semirra L. Bayan, Jan L. Kasperbauer, Dale C. Ekbom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare the incidence of glottic stenosis in idiopathic subglottic stenosis (iSGS) patients with no prior surgical intervention to those with a history of endoscopic dilation and characterize the incidence of glottic involvement, changes in scar length, and progression of scar toward glottis following laser wedge excision (LWE). Methods: A retrospective review of iSGS patients who underwent LWE between 2002 and 2021 was performed. Patients without prior airway surgery were labeled LWE primary (LWEP) and operative findings for LWEP patients were reviewed for glottic involvement, scar length (DL), and distance from the glottis to superior-most aspect of scar (DGS). Rates (in mm/procedure) of DΔL, reflecting an increase in length, and D−ΔGS, reflecting proximal migration, were calculated by dividing DΔL and D−ΔGS by the number of LWE procedures. Results: 213 iSGS patients underwent LWE, with 132 being LWEP patients. LWEP had a lower incidence of baseline glottic involvement (n = 6, 4.5%) than LWE secondary (LWES; n = 6, 7.5%). Four new cases of glottic involvement were noted in LWEP patients following LWE, with only one being clinically significant resulting in permanently decreased vocal fold mobility. With each procedure, scar length increased by 1.0 mm and DGS decreased by 0.7 mm, reflecting a migration or decrease in DGS of 9.5% with each procedure with respect to initial DGS. Overall rates of glottic stenosis following operations were similar between LWEP and LWES cohorts, 7.6% and 7.5% respectively. Conclusion: There appears to be a low risk of glottic involvement resulting from the LWE procedure in iSGS patients. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 133:875–882, 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-882
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • idiopathic subglottic stenosis
  • laser wedge excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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