Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Blunt laryngeal trauma secondary to sporting injuries

  • D Mendis (a1) and J A Anderson (a1)
Abstract Background:

Laryngeal injury after blunt trauma is uncommon, but can cause catastrophic airway obstruction and significant morbidity in voice and airway function. This paper aims to discuss a case series of sports-related blunt laryngeal trauma patients and describe the results of a thorough literature review.


Retrospective case-based analysis of laryngeal trauma referrals over six years to a tertiary laryngology centre.


Twenty-eight patients were identified; 13 (46 per cent) sustained sports-related trauma. Most were young males, presenting with dysphonia, some with airway compromise (62 per cent). Nine patients were diagnosed with a laryngeal fracture. Four patients were managed conservatively and nine underwent surgery. Post-treatment, the majority of patients achieved good voice outcomes (83 per cent) and all had normal airway function.


Sports-related neck trauma can cause significant injury to the laryngeal framework and endolaryngeal soft tissues, and most cases require surgical intervention. Clinical presentation may be subtle; a systematic approach along with a high index of suspicion is essential, as early diagnosis and treatment have been reported to improve airway and voice outcome.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Jennifer Anderson, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada Fax: +1 416 864 5367 E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1 GS Gussack , GJ Jurkovich , A Luterman . Laryngotracheal trauma: a protocol approach to a rare injury. Laryngoscope 1986;96:660–5

2 JS Delaney , A Al-Kashmiri . Neck injuries presenting to emergency departments in the United States from 1990 to 1999 for ice hockey, soccer, and American football. Br J Sports Med 2005;39:e2

3 LA Lawrence , PF Svider , SN Raza , G Zuliani , MA Carron , AJ Folbe . Hockey-related facial injuries: a population-based analysis. Laryngoscope 2014;125:589–93

4 SA Paluska , CD Lansford . Laryngeal trauma in sport. Curr Sports Med Rep 2008;7:1621

6 CA Rosen , AS Lee , J Osborne , T Zullo , T Murry . Development and validation of the voice handicap index-10. Laryngoscope 2004;114:1549–56

7 AP Butler , BP Wood , AK O'Rourke , ES Porubsky . Acute external laryngeal trauma: experience with 112 patients. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2005;114:361–8

8 B Poburka . A new stroboscopy rating form. J Voice 1999;13:403–13

9 SD Schaefer , LG Close . Acute management of laryngeal trauma. Update. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1989;98:98104

11 M Juutilainen , J Vintturi , S Robinson , L Bäck , H Lehtonen , AA Mäkitie . Laryngeal fractures: clinical findings and considerations on suboptimal outcome. Acta Otolaryngol 2008;128:213–18

12 JP Kim , SJ Cho , HY Son , JJ Park , SH Woo . Analysis of clinical feature and management of laryngeal fracture: recent 22 case review. Yonsei Med Journal 2012;53:992–8

13 DM Sidle , KW Altman . The contralateral injury in blunt laryngeal trauma. Laryngoscope 2002;112:1696–8

14 GS Gussack , GJ Jurkovich . Treatment dilemmas in laryngotracheal trauma. J Trauma 1988;28:1439–44

15 KF Cheong , GH Yau . Acute laryngeal trauma. J Anesth 1995;9:360–2

16 BZ Atkins , S Abbate , S Fisher , SN Vaslef . Current management of laryngotracheal trauma: case report and literature review. J Trauma 2004;56:185–90

18 RS Cicala , KA Kudsk , A Butts , H Nguyen , TC Fabian . Initial evaluation and management of upper airway injuries in trauma patients. J Clin Anesth 1991;3:91–8

19 SM Gold , ME Gerber , SR Shott , CM Myer . Blunt laryngotracheal trauma in children. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1997;123:83–7

20 SD Schaefer . Management of acute blunt and penetrating external laryngeal trauma. Laryngoscope 2013;124:233–44

22 SD Schaefer . The acute management of external laryngeal trauma. A 27-year experience. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1992;118:598604

24 A Beckera , I Leuchterb , A Platona , CD Beckera , P Dulguerovb , A Varoquauxa . Imaging of laryngeal trauma. Eur J Radiol 2014;83:142–54

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 172 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th June 2017 - 17th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.