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Modified blade: an interventional option in rigid bronchoscopy for non-resectable benign tracheal stenosis.

INTRODUCTION: Benign tracheobronchial stenosis is a abnormal tracheal lumen narrowing that may incur progressive dyspnea and life-threatening hypoxemia. There is no consensus on which patients should be treated with endoscopic or surgical method. This study investigates the outcomes of bronchoscopic dilatation in the treatment of benign tracheal stenosis using a device equipped with a blade to cut the stenotic lesions with dense fibrosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The procedure was carried out in an operating room under general anesthesia. All patients were intubated with a Rigid Bronchoscope (RB) placed just above the stenosis. Through Rigid Bronchoscopy combined modalities were used as needed: radial incisions of the mucosal stenosis with blade at the levels of 4, 8 and 12 o'clock, with back and forth movements, then the stenotic area was dilated more easily with a rigid bronchoscope. Dilatation was performed by passing the RB of increasing diameter through stenotic areas and then Balloon dilatation of increasing diameter. There were no complications during the procedure.

RESULT: We conducted an observational, retrospective, single-centre study in the Thoracic Surgery Unit of the University of 'Luigi Vanvitelli' of Naples from November 2011 to September 2021. We included all consecutive patients with benign tracheal stenosis inoperable. During the study period, 113 patients were referred to our department with benign tracheal stenosis inoperable. 61 patients were treated with the blade. During the follow-up, a recurrence of the stenosis was observed in 8 patients in the first month and in 4 patients in the third month. Instead in the patients treated with the use of laser (52 patients), during the follow-up a recurrence was observed in 16 patients in the first month and in 6 patients in the third month; no patient relapsed after 6 months and after 1 year. Long term successful bronchoscopic management with blade was attained by 99% in simple and 93% in mixed stenosis and in complex type stenosis.

CONCLUSION: Our study underlines the importance of the use of the blade in bronchoscopic treatment as a valid conservative approach in the management of patients with inoperable benign tracheal stenosis as an alternative to the use of the laser, reducing the abnormal inflammatory reaction in order to limit recurrences.

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