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Laryngeal Mask

Laryngeal Masks/ Laryngeal Mask Airways (LMA)

Laryngeal masks are a type of supraglottic airway which keep a patient’s airway open during the state of unconsciousness and when the patient is under anesthesia. When the laryngeal mask is correctly placed, it sits above the glottis in the hypopharynx region. Laryngeal masks have been used since 1988 and were developed by British anesthesiologist Dr. Archi Brain. Laryngeal masks consist of three main components:

• Airway Tube – The airway tube is curved in order to match the anatomy of the oropharynx. It is usually semitransparent and semi rigid so that it’s easy to handle and the regurgitated and condensed material can be seen. The distal end of the airway tube opens into an inflatable mask protected by rubber mask aperture bars which prevents the epiglottis from entering the airway

• Inflatable Mask – The inflatable mask of the laryngeal mask is usually oval shaped and has a round and broad proximal end. It is attached to the outer rim of the back plate of the inflatable mask

• Mask Inflation Line – The mask inflation line is attached to the proximal portion of the cuff. It consists of the long narrow inflation line, pilot balloon, syringe port and a metallic valve

Signs of correct placement of a laryngeal mask (LMA) 

The surgeon and anesthesiologist usually check the correct placement of laryngeal masks by looking at the following signs: 

• Outward movement of the tube upon inflation

• Visible oval swelling around the thyroid area 

• Visible expansion of the chest wall upon compression 

• Cuff shouldn’t be visible in the oral cavity 

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