Microdebrider complications in laryngologic and airway surgery

Rebecca J. Howell, Nancy L. Solowski, Peter C Belafsky, Mark C. Courey, Albert L. Merati, Clark A. Rosen, Paul M. Weinberger, Gregory N. Postma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: There is a paucity of experience in the published literature documenting complications of powered surgical instruments in laryngologic surgery. Our objective was to ascertain the nature of these complications from expert opinion and review of the literature, and to recommend strategies to decrease major complications.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of the literature and an e-mail survey.

METHODS: A literature review of microdebrider complications in laryngologic surgery was conducted using PubMed and Ovid (1985 to 2013), along with an analysis of a confidential e-mail survey of various surgeons in selected high-volume laryngologic centers.

RESULTS: Powered instrumentation is frequently used in the operating room for larynx and airway surgery. The microdebrider can improve efficiency, lower costs, and shorten operative times. However, use of the microdebrider has the potential for serious complications in the larynx and airway. Great care must be taken when utilizing the microdebrider in laryngologic surgery. Significant complications including major vocal fold scar, airway compromise, severe hemorrhage, and unintentional tissue loss have occurred.

CONCLUSIONS: The microdebrider is a popular and valuable tool for the otolaryngologist. A thorough knowledge of the instrument and its potential complications will improve surgical outcomes and may prevent complications. Awareness of the risks and surgeon experience with use of the microdebrider will allow the surgeon to successfully utilize this device in a safe and effective manner.5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2579-2582
Number of pages4
JournalThe Laryngoscope
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • airway surgery
  • complications
  • laryngology
  • Microdebrider
  • powered instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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