• Laryngomalacia literally means ‘abnormal softening of the larynx’
  • It is a congenital condition in the supraglottic part of the larynx is abnormally flaccid
  • It is the most common congenital lesion of the larynx and is the most common cause of congenital stridor
  • During inspiration, the epiglottis folds upon itself and is sucked into the larynx
  • This causes stridor and sometimes cyanosis
  • The severity is more when the child is crying and is relieved by placing the child in prone position
  • It appears at or soon after birth and usually disappears by 2 years of age
  • Diagnosis is by laryngoscopy (direct / flexible)
  • An elongated epiglottis which is folded upon itself (in the shape of an omega when viewed from above – omega sign)
  • In a lateral x-ray film, the epiglottis appears thumb shaped (rather than the usual leaf shape)
  • Treatment is mostly conservative
  • Severe respiratory obstruction may require tracheostomy

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Malacia – medical terminology

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