Technical aspects and outcomes of tracheobronchoplasty for severe tracheobronchomalacia

Sidhu P. Gangadharan, Charles T. Bakhos, Adnan Majid, Michael S. Kent, Gaetane Michaud, Armin Ernst, Simon K. Ashiku, Malcolm M. Decamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Tracheobronchomalacia is an underrecognized cause of dyspnea, recurrent respiratory infections, and cough. Surgical stabilization with posterior membranous tracheobronchoplasty has been shown to be effective in selected patients with severe disease. This study examines the technical details and complications of this operation. Methods: A prospectively maintained database of tracheobronchomalacia patients was queried retrospectively to review all consecutive tracheobronchoplasties performed from October 2002 to June 2009. Posterior splinting was performed with polypropylene mesh. Patient demographics, surgical outcomes, and operative data were reviewed. Results: Sixty-three patients underwent surgical correction of tracheal and bilateral bronchial malacia. Twenty-three patients had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 18 had asthma, 5 had Mounier-Kuhn syndrome, and 4 had interstitial lung disease. Seven patients had a previous tracheotomy. Operative time was 373 ± 93 minutes. Median length of stay was 8 days (range, 4 to 92 days), of which 3 days (range, 0 to 91 days) were in intensive care. Seventy-five percent of patients were discharged home (28% with visiting nurse follow-up), and 25% went to a rehabilitation facility. Two patients (3.2%) died postoperatively1 of worsening usual interstitial pneumonia, and the other of massive pulmonary embolism. Complications included a new respiratory infection in 14 patients, pulmonary embolism in 2, and atrial fibrillation in 6. Six patients required reintubation, and 9 received a postoperative tracheotomy; 47 patients required postoperative aspiration bronchoscopy. Conclusions: In experienced hands, tracheobronchoplasty can be performed with a very low mortality rate and an acceptable perioperative complications rate in patients with significant pulmonary comorbidity. Intervention for postoperative respiratory morbidity is often necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1581
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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