A bronchial stent is a small, flexible tube that is placed in a narrowed or collapsed section of the airway (bronchus) to help keep it open and improve breathing. The stent is usually made of a metal or silicone material, and is typically inserted using a bronchoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light) that is passed through the mouth or nose and into the lungs.
Bronchial stents are most commonly used to treat airway obstructions caused by lung cancer or other tumors, as well as conditions such as tracheobronchomalacia (a condition where the airway walls become weak and collapse during breathing). The stent helps to maintain the diameter of the airway and improve airflow, which can alleviate symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
Bronchial stents can be permanent or temporary, depending on the underlying cause of the airway obstruction. In some cases, a temporary stent may be used to allow time for the underlying condition to heal or to provide support during radiation or chemotherapy. Permanent stents are typically used when the underlying condition is unlikely to improve or when other treatment options are not effective.
The placement of a bronchial stent carries dangers, just like any medical treatment, such as bleeding, infection, and the stent moving or migrating. Based on your particular circumstances, your healthcare practitioner can give you more information about the potential risks and advantages of this surgery.