60-year-old Mesude UÇAK, who lives in ORDU, presented to the doctor with a complaint of swelling in his neck. Uçak, mother of 2 children, who appear to have a thyroid tumor invading her trachea during the operation, underwent an incomplete operation and told that she needed to be operated on again by a Thoracic Surgeon. Hereupon, Uçak, who was seeking for a doctor, ran into Prof. Dr. Sina Ercan, Head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at the Yeditepe University Hospitals. The tumor, which was located very close to the vocal cords of Mesude Uçak, was successfully removed without any damage to the vocal cords. Thus, Uçak was freed from the tracheostomy procedure, which would allow her to breathe by creating an opening in her neck, should the vocal cords were injured and paralyzed during the surgery.

Prof. Dr. Sina Ercan, Dean of Yeditepe University Faculty of Medicine and Head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery, said that some of the patients with breathing difficulties are misdiagnosed and have a treatment of COPD or asthma. He stated that the probability of a tumor or stenosis in the trachea should be kept in mind by physicians and patients who experience shortness of breath for a long time and cannot recover with medical treatment.

Tracheostomy Not Your Destiny in Tracheal Stenosis

Professor Dr. Ercan, by emphasizing that it is risky to operate the same area for the second time, said that “Ms. Mesude had a tumoral tissue originating from the thyroid gland in her throat region.” While her being evaluated by Otolaryngologist, the tumor was thought to originate from and limited to the thyroid gland and the tumor was removed with preserving both vocal cords. However, during the operation, it was found out that the tumor also spread to the trachea. The region where the tumor grows in the trachea is a complex area with neighboring vocal cords. After the necessary preparations, we removed the mass by preserving both vocal cords and the nerves that control their motion with a successful operation despite the increased risk of complications due to reoperation. After that, we supported her treatment with further radiotherapy to the region in order to maximize her chances of recovering from the illness permanently”, he said.

“Due to Shortness of Breath Inappropriate Endoscopic Interventions and Surgeries to Buy Time Sometimes Can Cause Patients to Lose The Chance of Full Recovery”

Yeditepe University Hospitals Thoracic Surgeon Prof. Dr. Sina Ercan, who said that patients with shortness of breath should keep in mind and pay attention to other possibilities besides asthma and COPD, continued his speech: “In patients with shortness of breath, patients and physicians should keep in mind that there may be stenosis in the trachea or throat region.” For these patients, in clinics specialized in this field, the collaboration of specialists from different disciplines to evaluate the patient and plan the treatment together will let the patients to use their best chances for a full recovery that only lies in the first surgery. In re-operations for tracheal stenosis that are not successful in one go, the chance of success gradually decreases, and the risk of complications such as hoarseness, restenosis or creating a permanent opening in the throat increases significantly. Patients, due to these repetitive interventions or as a result of uncontrolled laser and various endoscopic interventions done in haste to save time for shortness of breath without rigorous evaluation, may lose their chance of ‘ full recovery’ that they can catch when they are treated correctly in the first place.

“Patients Who Fail To Benefit From Asthma or COPD Treatment May Think Of Tracheal Stenosis”

It is never true to say that every patient diagnosed with asthma or COPD has a narrowing in the windpipe. On the other hand, a many of the patients with tracheal stricture may be given medication for a misdiagnosed asthma or COPD for several months or even years with no relief before being correctly diagnosed. Prof. Dr. Sina Ercan, Head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Yeditepe University Hospital, said: “It should be kept in mind that there may be a problem due to tracheal stenosis in patients, who have suffered even a minor trauma in the throat region, or who has had a tube inserted into the trachea either during general anesthesia for a surgery or having been treated with a ventilator support in an intensive care unit in the past, if they are suffering from shortness of breath and if they do not benefit from a long going medical treatment for asthma or COPD with Bronchodilators.”

“I Feel Like I’ve Just Come To Life”

A 60-year-old mother of 2 children, Mesude Uçak who had surgery said that, expressing that she presented to the doctor with the complaint of swelling in her throat, “the swelling started in my throat and I went to the doctor immediately. I was told that it was caused by my tonsils. When I did not got better with treatment, I went to another doctor and he said I had a problem with my thyroid. Afterwards, I had surgery right away. But, after the surgery, my doctor stated that a small mass remained in my trachea and that because it was not in his field of expertise another doctor had to see and operate. After that, my seeking for a doctor started and we ran into my doctor, Professor. Dr. Sina Ercan. I thank him very much. I am so glad that I feel like I just came to life and I don’t feel any illness right now. Both my breath and voice are quite fine too.”

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