Tracheal buckling

Last revised by Mostafa Elfeky on 30 Jan 2023

Tracheal buckling is a normal finding in young infants when the trachea is more flexible. There is typically deviation of the trachea anteriorly and to the right (up to 90°). Normal deviation to the left is observed only when aortic arch is locate to the right of the trachea 4. Any other configuration (i.e. to the left or posteriorly) should raise the possibility of underlying pathology. 

Practical points

Care should be taken when evaluating the prevertebral soft tissues, which may be artificially thickened by anterior buckling and a misdiagnosis of retropharyngeal abscess may result 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: frontal
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  • Case 1: lateral
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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