Newly Published
Images in Anesthesiology  |   May 2019
Emergency Airway Management with a Laryngeal Mask Airway in a Patient with Massive Cervical Lipomas
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas (O.A., C.A.); and the Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas, Texas (B.M.).
  • Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr. Azizad: Omaira.Azizad@UTsouthwestern.edu
Article Information
Images in Anesthesiology / Airway Management / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring
Images in Anesthesiology   |   May 2019
Emergency Airway Management with a Laryngeal Mask Airway in a Patient with Massive Cervical Lipomas
Anesthesiology Newly Published on May 21, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002762
Anesthesiology Newly Published on May 21, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002762
Cervical lipomas can cause significant respiratory compromise and create challenges during airway management. The American Society of Anesthesiology difficult airway algorithm recommends insertion of a laryngeal mask airway for patients that have failed mask ventilation or conventional intubation. However, in patients with massive cervical lipomas, bypassing direct laryngoscopy and inserting a laryngeal mask airway may be necessary to more rapidly improve oxygenation and ventilation.
These images show a patient with circumferential neck lipomas who developed hypoxic respiratory failure due to congestive heart failure. On airway examination, the patient had a short thyromental distance, severely limited neck range of motion and unknown Mallampati score due to altered mental status. Placing the patient in the “sniffing” position was impossible due to the massive neck lesions. In addition, the patient likely had redundant pharyngeal tissue collapsing the supraglottic airway, making video laryngoscopy potentially difficult. In patients with these findings, mask ventilation and laryngoscopy should be waived. The initial airway intervention should be laryngeal mask airway placement.1  Further steps to secure a definitive airway can be attempted once ventilation is confirmed.2