Idiopathic is of unknown cause. This term is used most often in laryngology to refer to vocal cord paralysis, after a mass lesion along the course of the recurrent laryngeal nerve is ruled out.

See also: idiopathic subglottic stenosis

Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis Has Different Levels

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Post dilation (1 of 4)

Six months after dilation of idiopathic (inflammatory) subglottic stenosis, the patient has noted only slight deterioration, and breathing ability remains acceptable to her.

Closer view (2 of 4)

At closer range, the inflammatory component appears more evident.

Rich vascular pattern (3 of 4)

The rich vascular pattern accompanying the lesion is seen better and is a visual finding of inflammation.

"Sharing" the airway (4 of 4)

Here, the scope has been passed through the area of maximal narrowing and the patient becomes acutely aware of greater difficulty breathing. "Sharing the airway" is a way of 'measuring' it functionally. Note again the congested capillaries.