Operative rigid bronchoscopy: indications, basic techniques and results

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Palliative airway treatments are essential to improve quality and length of life in lung cancer patients with central airway obstruction. Rigid bronchoscopy has proved to be an excellent tool to provide airway access and control in this cohort of patients. The main indication for rigid bronchoscopy in adult bronchology remains central airway obstruction due to neoplastic or non-neoplastic disease. We routinely use negative pressure ventilation (NPV) under general anaesthesia to prevent intraoperative apnoea and respiratory acidosis. This procedure allows opioid sparing, a shorter recovery time and avoids manually assisted ventilation, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen needed, while maintaining optimal surgical conditions. The major indication for NPV rigid bronchoscopy at our institution has been airway obstruction by neoplastic tracheobronchial tissue, mainly treated by laser-assisted mechanical dissection. When strictly necessary, we use silicone stents for neoplastic or cicatricial strictures, reserving metal stents to cover tracheo-oesophageal fistulae. NPV rigid bronchoscopy is an excellent tool for the endoscopic treatment of locally advanced tumours of the lung, especially when patients have exhausted the conventional therapeutic resources. Laser-assisted mechanical resection and stent placement are the most effective procedures for preserving quality of life in patients with advanced stage cancer.


  • Airway compression
  • Airway infiltration
  • Laser
  • Rigid bronchoscopy
  • Stent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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