Trachea & EsophagusConditions


Sometimes you may swallow and cough because something “went down the wrong pipe.” The body has two “pipes” – the trachea (windpipe), which connects the throat to the lungs; and the esophagus, which connects the throat to the stomach. 

Trachea and esophagus conditions include swallowing disorders and Zenker’s diverticulum, which occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat become weak and stretched out, forming a pouch.

Treatment Options

Whether you’re having issues with your trachea or your esophagus, our ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists can help. They perform a number of surgical procedures to diagnose and fix trachea and esophagus problems, including:

  • Esophageal dilation: stretches (dilates) a narrowed portion of the esophagus in order to improve swallowing. It also helps reduce the sensation that something is stuck in the throat. 
  • Foreign body extraction: removal of a foreign object that has become lodged in the trachea or esophagus
  • Tracheostomy: creates a small hole from the front of the neck to the trachea, to help get air into the lungs when the nose and mouth are blocked
  • Endoscopic Zenker’s diverticulectomy: treats Zenker diverticulum without an incision, which means lower risk of complications and a faster recovery
  • Transnasal esophagoscopy (TNE): a diagnostic test that can help find the cause of swallowing problems. A narrow, flexible tube with a small camera on the end is inserted through the nose and into the esophagus, allowing a surgeon to see inside and remove tissue for testing. 

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