What is the role of surgery in the treatment of relapsing polychondritis (RP)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Nicholas Compton, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Surgeries encountered in the care of patients with relapsing polychondritis may include the following:

  • Tracheostomy
  • Permanent tracheotomy placement
  • Tracheal stent placement
  • Aortic aneurysm repair
  • Cardiac valve replacement
  • Saddle-nose deformity repair

Subglottic stenosis can be treated with submucosal corticosteroid injection followed by serial dilation. Wierzbicka et al reported good airway patency for more than 24 months in eight of 12 patients with relapsing polychondritis or other autoimmune disorders treated with this approach. [58]

The benefits of any proposed surgery must be weighed adequately against the patient's risk for infection, especially in the event of acute relapse, since patients are at an increased risk of infection whether or not they are using corticosteroids.

Additionally, patients with relapsing polychondritis and tracheal disease may be at particular risk regarding complications resulting from tracheal intubation and extubation.

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