Background: Submental intubation is an interesting alternative to tracheotomy, especially when short term post-operative control of airway is desirable with the presence of undisturbed access to oral as well as nasal airways and a good dental occlusion.
Materials and methods: Submental intubation with midline incision has been used in ten cases from October 2010 to September 2012. All patients had fractures of the jaws disturbing the dental occlusion associated with fracture of the base of the skull, or/and a displaced nasal bone fracture. After standard orotracheal intubation, a passage was created by blunt dissection with a hemostat clamp through the floor of the mouth in the submental area. The proximal end of the orotracheal tube was pulled through the submental incision. Surgery was completed without interference from the endotracheal tube. At the end of surgery, the tube was pulled back to the usual oral route.
Results: There were no perioperative complications related to the submental intubation procedure. Average duration of procedure was less than 6 min.
Conclusion: Submental intubation is a simple technique associated with a low morbidity. It is an attractive alternative to tracheotomy in the surgical management of selected cases of panfacial trauma.
Key words: submental intubation; panfacial fractures; airway management