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Eyes, ears, nose and throat
Age-related macular degeneration
Retinopathy of prematurity
Conductive hearing loss
Eustachian tube dysfunction
Tympanic membrane perforation
Acoustic neuroma (schwannoma)
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Retropharyngeal and peritonsillar abscesses
Thyroglossal duct cyst
Eye conditions: Refractive errors, lens disorders and glaucoma: Pathology review
Eye conditions: Retinal disorders: Pathology review
Eye conditions: Inflammation, infections and trauma: Pathology review
Vertigo: Pathology review
Nasal, oral and pharyngeal diseases: Pathology review
Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer: Pathology review
Parathyroid disorders and calcium imbalance: Pathology review
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Sam Gillespie, BSc
Tanner Marshall, MS
“Laryngo” refers to the larynx and “malacia” refers to a body tissue that is soft, so laryngomalacia is a developmental condition where the larynx doesn’t form correctly and ends up being soft and floppy.
Normally, the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage located just above the vocal cords, makes a firm arc over the airway.
It’s connected to the larynx by cartilaginous structures called aryepiglottic folds.
In children born with laryngomalacia, the aryepiglottic folds are shorter than normal, so they pull the normally arc-shaped epiglottis down into a distinctive omega shape.
Weak laryngeal muscle tone is thought to cause the condition, but the exact mechanism isn’t well understood.
The cartilaginous tissues are also softer than normal, so they flop into the airway.
That means that when the child breathes, that floppy structure gets sucked into the airway, causing stridor which is a high-pitched, whistling sound during breathing.
In some cases the obstruction of the airway can be so bad that it can make breathing difficult.
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