What are the advantages and disadvantages of emergent cricothyrotomy?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Jonathan P Lindman, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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The advantage of performing emergent cricothyrotomy is that the cricothyroid membrane is superficial and readily accessible, with minimal dissection required. The disadvantage is that the cricothyroid membrane is small and adjacent structures (eg, conus elasticus, cricothyroid muscles, central cricothyroid arteries) are jeopardized; moreover, the cannula may not fit. Damage to the cricoid cartilage from the scalpel or pressure necrosis leads to perichondritis and possibly stenosis. The overall complication rate of emergent cricothyrotomy is 32%, which is 5 times that of the procedure under controlled circumstances.

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