Laryngomalacia, the most common congenital laryngeal anomaly, is not a single disease entity but rather a variety of entities along a spectrum of underlying pathophysiologies. Based on our study of 10 children who were surgically treated for laryngomalacia in an urban tertiary care center, we have developed a system of classifying laryngomalacia on the basis of its different underlying pathophysiologic processes. Type 1 laryngomalacia is characterized by a foreshortened or tight aryepiglottic fold. Type 2 disease is defined by the presence of redundant soft tissue in the supraglottis. The type 3 designation applies to cases caused by other etiologies, such as underlying neuromuscular disorders. While the three types are not mutually exclusive, each should be considered as a separate disease entity with a final common clinical presentation. Each type requires a specific approach to surgical repair.
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