A bronchoplasty is surgical alteration of the structure of
a bronchus. A bronchus is a type of small airway
connected to the lungs, which helps people breathe. A
bronchoplasty is often performed during surgical
removal of cancerous or benign (non-cancerous)
masses in the bronchi. Cancer is any of a large group
of malignant diseases characterized by an abnormal,
uncontrolled growth of new cells in one of the body
organs or tissues. When such masses are removed,
areas of the bronchus next to the mass are also
removed. These areas are known as the margins.
Benign masses or cancers that do not spread fast do
not require much removal of bronchus margins.
The bronchi of the lungs are
surgically altered during a
The more aggressive the cancer, the more margins need to be removed. The areas of
the bronchus that are removed are reconnected to preserve breathing functions. These
types of bronchoplasties are referred to as surgical bronchplasties.
Bronnchoplasties are performed for others reasons besides removal of a mass. For
example, they can be performed due to damage caused by a traumatic event such as a
motor vehicle accident. They also can be performed due to abnormal narrowing of a
bronchus, which is known as a stricture. When there is significant narrowing of a
bronchus (bronchostenosis), deflated balloons can be inserted into the bronchus and then
inflated to widen the area. This is known as a balloon bronchoplasty.
For patients with severe asthma over 18 years of age, there is
another procedure known as thermal bronchoplasty or bronchial
thermoplasty. In this procedure, controlled and therapeutic levels of
radiofrequency energy are applied to the airway wall, which heats
the tissue there and reduces the amount of smooth muscle present.
The smooth muscle is what normally constricts during an asthma
attack and with less of it being present after the procedure, the
amount and severity of asthma attacks should decrease.
Bronchoplasty comes from the Greek word “bronchus” meaning
“windpipe,” and the Greek word “plastos” meaning “formed.” Put the
words together and you get “windpipe formed.”