How are tracheal diseases treated?
Your treatment will depend on the type and extent of your disease.
Tumors of the trachea and bronchi are often treated with:
- Surgery to remove the tumor or trachea.
- Bronchoscopic treatments performed through a tube with a tiny camera inserted through the mouth and into the airways.
- Radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with surgery.
Some treatment methods we use include:
- Stent therapy - A narrow tube of metal or silicone (a tracheobronchial airway stent) is placed in airway to keep it open.
- Laser therapy - A laser beam is used to shrink or remove the tumor.
- Argon beam coagulation - This treatment uses electricity and argon gas to kill tumor tissue.
- Brachytherapy - A bronchoscope is used to help deliver radiation therapy directly to the tumor site, destroying tumor cells.
- Rigid bronchoscopy - A rigid bronchoscope is inserted into the trachea to remove tumor tissue inside the airway.
Tracheal stenosis treatment can include:
- Tracheal resection and reconstruction. During a tracheal resection, our surgeons remove the constricted section of the trachea and then rejoin the upper and lower sections.
- Bronchoscopic tracheal dilation. Widening of the trachea with a balloon or with surgical instruments called tracheal dilators, provides temporary relief of symptoms and helps us determine how much of the trachea is affected.
- Laser bronchoscopy. Our surgeons sometimes use lasers to remove scar tissue causing stenosis. It usually isn’t a long-term solution and in some cases can worsen stenosis, so our surgeons will carefully consider your underlying disorder before using this method.
- Tracheobronchial airway stent. A stent is a tube made of metal or silicone is placed in the airway to help keep it open.
Tracheobronchomalacia treatment often involves treating an underlying disorder, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis. Treatment of tracheobronchomalacia depends on the location and the extent of the disease and may include:
- Tracheobronchial airway stent. A silicone tube is placed at the site of the collapse to help keep the airway open.
- Tracheobronchoplasty. This surgery can be used to treat the most severe forms of tracheobronchomalacia. A surgically placed mesh is used to reinforce and stabilize the wall of the trachea and help prevent collapse.
- Tracheal resection and reconstruction. This type of surgery can be used if the collapse affects only a small part of the windpipe. The surgeon removes the injured section of the windpipe and rejoins the upper and lower portions.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.