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Multidetector CT evaluation of airway stents: what the radiologist should know.

Airway stents are increasingly used to treat symptomatic patients with obstructive tracheobronchial diseases who are not amenable to surgical resection or who have poor performance status, precluding them from resection. The most common conditions that are treated with tracheobronchial stents are primary lung cancer and metastatic disease. However, stents have also been used to treat patients with airway stenosis related to a variety of benign conditions, such as tracheobronchomalacia, relapsing polychondritis, postintubation tracheal stenosis, postoperative anastomotic stenosis, and granulomatous diseases. Additionally, airway stents can be used as a barrier method in the management of esophagorespiratory fistulas. Many types of stents are available from different manufacturers. Principally, they are classified as silicone; covered and uncovered metal; or hybrid, which are made of silicone and reinforced by metal rings. The advantages and disadvantages of each type of airway stent are carefully considered when choosing the most appropriate stent for each patient. Multidetector computed tomography plays an important role in determining the cause and assessing the location and extent of airway obstruction. Moreover, it is very accurate in its depiction of complications after airway stent placement.

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