If your airway is partly blocked by a lung cancer it can make it hard to breathe. Your doctor might suggest that you have a stent put into the airway to help keep it open. This can help you to breathe more easily.
Your doctor puts a long, thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope into your mouth and down your airway. This is a bit uncomfortable.
When the bronchoscope tube is in the right place, the doctor pushes the stent down the bronchoscope. It is a folded up wire mesh tube. As the stent comes out of the end of the tube, it opens up and pushes the walls of the airway open.
POSSIBLE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
Having an airway stent is a very safe procedure but your nurse will tell you who to contact if you have any problems afterwards.
The possible risks include:
A chest infection – see your GP straight away if your phlegm (sputum) changes color, you start feeling more breathless or you feel as though you have a temperature.
Needing extra oxygen – you might need oxygen through a mask for some time after the bronchoscopy. If you normally have oxygen at home you might need to have more than usual for a while.
A collapsed lung (pneumothorax) – air or gas can collect in the space around the lung and make it collapse but this is rare. Contact a doctor if you get breathless or have chest pain. You have a tube put into the lung to remove the air.
The stent moving and blocking the airway but this is very rare – contact your doctor or nurse straight away if you suddenly feel very breathless.