Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Do airway metallic stents for benign lesions confer too costly a benefit?



The use of self-expanding metallic stents (SEMAS) in the treatment benign airway obstruction is controversial.


To evaluate the safety and efficacy of SEMAS for this indication, we conducted a 10-year retrospective review at our tertiary medical centre.


Using flexible bronchoscopy, 82 SEMAS (67% Ultraflex, 33% Wallstent) were placed in 35 patients with inoperable lesions, many with significant medical comorbidities (88%). 68% of stents were tracheal, and 83% of patients showed immediate symptomatic improvement. Reversible complications developed in 9% of patients within 24 hrs of stent placement. Late complications (>24 hrs) occurred in 77% of patients, of which 37% were clinically significant or required an interventional procedure. These were mainly due to stent migration (12.2%), fracture (19.5%), or obstructive granulomas (24.4%). The overall granuloma rate of 57% was higher at tracheal sites (59%) than bronchial ones (34%), but not significantly different between Ultraflex and Wallstents. Nevertheless, Wallstents were associated with higher rates of bleeding (5% vs. 30%, p = 0.005) and migration (7% vs. 26%, p = 0.026). Of 10 SEMAS removed using flexible bronchoscopy, only one was associated with incomplete removal of fractured stent wire. Median survival was 3.6 +/- 2.7 years.


Ill patients with inoperable lesions may be considered for treatment with SEMAS.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View