Respiratory complications occurring in the immediate postoperative period are well known to the seasoned postanesthesia care unit nurse. The most common adverse respiratory events originating in this setting are airway obstruction, hypoventilation, hypoxemia, and pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents. The focus of this article details airway compromise secondary to edema of the larynx and adjacent structures as a consequence of translaryngeal intubation. Postextubation laryngeal edema is a relatively rare problem; however, severe episodes may have life-threatening ramifications. A review of pertinent airway anatomy and airflow dynamics as they relate to this compromised airway condition is presented. Risk factors for the development of postextubation laryngeal edema plus contemporary patient treatment strategies will be reinforced. Patient management issues are addressed, with emphasis placed on the ambulatory patient in which discharge to a remote location is anticipated.