Tracheobronchial stent

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 21 Mar 2023

A tracheobronchial stent is a device used to treat symptomatic airway compression.

This device is inserted under bronchoscopic guidance in patients with external compression from mediastinal-based malignancy, for example, lung or esophageal cancers.  It may also be used in the treatment of tracheo-esophageal fistulas.

Bronchial stents can also be used to treat post-lung transplantation airway stenosis.

These stents are radiodense and can be seen on plain radiographs and CT.

History and etymology

Surprisingly, the word 'stent' is actually an eponym, named initially after Charles Stent (1807-1885), a largely-forgotten British dentist. He invented an improved material for forming dental impressions and set up a company to manufacture it. During the Great War, J F Esser, a Dutch surgeon used a mold of Stent's Compound as a fixative for skin grafting in injured infantrymen. This innovative use was rapidly adopted into practice, and stenting as a concept rapidly segued into multiple specialities.

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