Tracheal Stenosis

Preliminary Diagnosis: Tracheal stenosis

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis

  • CT soft tissue of the neck with contrast (thin section, 1-2 mm helical cuts with secondary 2- and 3-dimensional reformations, allowing virtual endoscopy)

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis of tracheal stenosis.


  • Highly sensitive and specific in evaluating for intrinsic and extrinsic causes of tracheal stenosis.

  • Contrasted CT helps evaluate for vascular rings/slings or underlying enhancing mass lesions, resulting in tracheal stenosis.

  • Best imaging modality for evaluating for airway and cartilage contour and caliber.


  • Exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • No specific alternative imaging techniques exist.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of tracheal stenosis.

  • Not applicable.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

  • Not applicable.

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