Effect of Posterior Tracheopexy on Risk of Recurrence in Children after Recurrent Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula Repair

Ali Kamran, Benjamin Zendejas, Jay Meisner, Sukgi S. Choi, Carlos Munoz-San Julian, Peter Ngo, Michael Manfredi, Jessica L. Yasuda, C. Jason Smithers, Thomas E. Hamilton, Russell W. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A recurrent tracheo-esophageal fistula can complicate esophageal atresia and tracheo-esophageal fistula (TEF) repair in children. Therapeutic approaches and the rate of recurrence vary widely. Most reports are limited by small cohorts and short-term follow-up, and rates of re-recurrence are substantial, making it difficult to select the treatment of choice. We aimed to review our experience with the treatment of recurrent TEF using posterior tracheopexy, focusing on operative risks and long-term outcomes. Study Design: We conducted a retrospective review of patients with esophageal atresia TEF with recurrent TEF treated at 2 institutions from 2011 to 2020. We approach recurrent TEFs surgically. Once the TEF is divided and repaired, the membranous trachea is sutured to the anterior longitudinal ligament of the spine (posterior tracheopexy) and the esophagus is rotated into the right chest (rotational esophagoplasty), separating the suture lines widely. To detect re-recurrence, patients undergo endoscopic surveillance during follow-up. Results: Sixty-two patients with a recurrent TEF were surgically treated (posterior tracheopexy/rotational esophagoplasty) at a median age of 14 months. All had significant respiratory symptoms. On referral, 24 had earlier failed endoscopic and/or surgical attempts at repair. Twenty-nine required a concomitant esophageal anastomotic stricturoplasty or stricture resection. Postoperative morbidity included 3 esophageal leaks, and 1 transient vocal cord dysfunction. We have identified no recurrences, with a median follow-up of 2.5 years, and all symptoms have resolved. Conclusions: The surgical treatment of recurrent TEFs that incorporates a posterior tracheopexy and rotational esophagoplasty is highly effective for preventing re-recurrence with low perioperative morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-698
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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