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What is bronchial thermoplasty?

People with asthma have inflammation in the bronchial tubes and the smooth muscles that line these airways can spasm making the airway too narrow to breathe easily. For people with chronic asthma and frequent attacks, a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty is an option.

In bronchial thermoplasty, doctors introduce a catheter down into the lungs going either through the nose or the mouth. It looks almost like a basket that expands inside the airway and makes contact with airway walls. A generator applies heat, which weakens and thins the airway's smooth muscle, making it much less prone to spasm and pinching off these airways during asthma attacks.

Bronchial thermoplasty is an outpatient treatment delivered in three different sessions a few weeks apart. The results so far have been tremendous. There's been a 70 to 80 percent reduction in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. There's been a two-thirds decrease in the number of days missed from work and overall, a one-third decrease in days with significant asthma symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.