A study of submental intubation for anaesthesia in patients with faciomaxillary injuries


  • Geeta A. Patkar Department of Anesthesiology, LTMMC and LTMGH, Sion, Mumbai, India
  • Nilam Dharma Virkar Department of Anesthesiology, LTMMC and LTMGH, Sion, Mumbai, India
  • Anusha M. S. Department of Anesthesiology, LTMMC and LTMGH, Sion, Mumbai, India
  • Bharati Anil Tendolkar Department of Anesthesiology, LTMMC and LTMGH, Sion, Mumbai, India




Maxillofacial trauma, Sub-mental intubation, Tracheostomy, Endobronchial migration


Background: Surgical repair of faciomaxillary trauma requires intraoperative occlusion of teeth that precludes orotracheal intubation. Airway management options in these patients are either nasotracheal intubation or tracheostomy. However nasal intubation is contraindicated in nasal bone fractures, skull base fractures. Tracheostomy, being a morbid procedure is not always a good option. Submental intubation allows a safe alternative in such patients.

Methods: 25 Patients were studied with faciomaxillary trauma where submental intubation was indicated. After standard anesthesia induction patients were intubated with reinforced endotracheal tube (ETT), which is converted to submental route by a paramedian incision. At the end of the procedure, all patients had inter-maxillary wiring, were shifted to recovery room. Once they are recovered from the neuromuscular blockade ETT was removed through the submental tunnel.

Results: This was a prospective observational study in 25 adult patients undergoing faciomaxillary surgeries requiring submental intubation. The mean apnoea time was 1.28±0.38 minutes and induction to submental intubation time was 9.68±1.82 minutes. In one case there was damage to the pilot balloon while pulling the tube through the submental tunnel. Two patients had right endobronchial migration of the ETT. On postoperative follow up, one patient had infection at the submental incision site.  

Conclusions: Submental intubation is a safe, effective, alternative for short term tracheostomy in faciomaxillary sugeries. Careful handling of the ETT is must to avoid damage while passing through the submental tunnel. Avoid extra length of the tube introrally to prevent endobronchial migration of the ETT.


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Original Research Articles