Tracheobronchial (airway) stents are devices used to splint narrowed airways open. Narrowed, or stenotic, airways result from abnormal granulation tissue, lung cancer, metastatic cancers, infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma or other inflammatory diseases.
Stents are cylindrical in shape and can be deployed by a bronchoscope. There are various materials that can be used in stents, with different stents having different disease indications.
Why are airway stents used?
- Airway stents can be permanent or removable.
- They can be used after your pulmonary physician applies laser, electrocautery, balloon dilatation or APC to increase the size of airway narrowing.
- By placing a stent, the airways remain open, allowing adequate airflow and the normal passage of secretions.
What Makes Tracheobronchial Stents Different?
- Tracheobronchial stents are unique devices to the airway.
- They are specialized, sometimes customized and are placed by highly trained pulmonologists.
- Stents require meticulous care to ensure they remain open.
- Stents can be made from silicone (a rubbery material), metal or a combination of metal and polyurethane (hybrid).
Benefits of Tracheobronchial Stents
- Stents vary in rigidity.
- The body of the stent helps resist compression from the airway tissues.
- They allow airways to remain open and keeps the lung from becoming collapsed.