Endobronchial Stenting for Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer can block the airways, making breathing difficult. To help open them, doctors at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center can perform endobronchial stenting, in which they place small, hollow plastic or metal devices called stents into the trachea (windpipe) or the bronchi, the airways that branch off the trachea.

These stents, which help to open the airway, may be temporary or permanent, depending on how well the person responds to treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Our surgeons place the stents using a bronchoscope, a thin tube with a camera on the end. Doctors insert the bronchoscope through the nose or mouth and into the location where the airways are narrowed or blocked, then position the stent. Sometimes fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray that lets doctors view the airways in real time, helps guide the surgeon.

Stenting is performed in the operating room with either local or general anesthesia. Afterward, doctors monitor you and can manage any discomfort you may experience. You may have a sore throat or cough up a small amount of blood for a couple of days after the procedure. Most people are able to return home the same day.