Tracheal Disorders

The trachea (windpipe) is the airway that extends downward from the voice box and carries air into the lungs. There are various types of cancerous and malignant tracheal diseases, including tracheal tumors, tracheal stenosis and tracheobronchomalacia.

Tests and Diagnosis

  • Bronchoscopy involves having a lighted flexible camera passed through your mouth and into the large airways to visualize portions of your trachea and lungs.
  • Laryngoscopy is when a lighted flexible camera is passed through your mouth and into the larynx to observe your larynx and upper respiratory tract.
  • Biopsy is when a small amount of tissue is removed during bronchoscope and viewed under a microscope in order to identify cellular changes.
  • PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (computed tomography) scans use penetrating waves to produce images. Often used to detect cancer, a PET scan introduces a radioactive substance through a patient’s vein, which collects in organs and tissues, and is detected by a scanner and converted into 3-D images. CT scans show the structure of and blood flow to and from organs.
  • Pulmonary function test and six-minute walk test are used to establish lung function.


  • Tracheal resection and reconstruction occurs when a surgeon removes the constricted section of your trachea and rejoins the upper and lower sections.
  • Stent therapy involves placing a narrow tube made out of metal or silicone (stent) in a narrowed or constricted airway to keep it open.
  • Laser therapy uses a highly focused beam of light to shrink or remove the tumor or to remove scar tissue that is causing stenosis.
  • Brachytherapy uses a bronchoscope to help deliver radiation therapy directly to the tumor cells.
  • Bronchoscopic tracheal dilation is the widening of the trachea, either with a balloon or surgical instruments, to provide temporary relief of symptoms and allows surgeons to determine how much of the trachea is affected by the stenosis.

Contact us

Undiagnosed or no referral

If you have not been formally diagnosed yet, call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to see your primary care provider to explore all possible causes of your symptoms. All thoracic procedures require a referral from a provider before scheduling.

Scheduling a procedure

If you have a referral for a thoracic procedure, contact the team at the facility where you want to have the procedure completed: 

Allegheny General Hospital
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 359-6137

Forbes Hospital
2570 Haymaker Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

(412) 858-7088

Jefferson Hospital
565 Coal Valley Road
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

(412) 469-7900

Saint Vincent Hospital
232 West 25th Street
Erie, PA 16544

(814) 453-7767