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Benign Airway Tumors
Benign (noncancerous) airway tumors are rare and include papillomas (HPV-related), granular cell tumors, hamartomas, carcinoid tumors, hemangiomas, neurogenic tumors, cartilaginous tumors or chondromas, and others.
These tumors are managed by a variety of interventional pulmonary and surgical techniques. In some cases, the tumor can be treated minimally invasively by a combination of advanced interventional bronchoscopic procedures.
When surgery is the most appropriate option, our surgeons work closely with UT Southwestern’s interventional pulmonologists, chest radiologists, and otolaryngologists to deliver comprehensive care – all in one location, and usually on the same day.
Symptoms are related to the presence of the tumor causing irritation of the airway and obstruction of the airflow:
- Frequent bouts of upper respiratory infections or pneumonia
- Hemoptysis or coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
Airway tumors can be difficult to diagnose because they are so rare, and in most cases, slow growing. They may be misdiagnosed as another problem such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, or COPD.
If we suspect that you have a benign airway tumor, we will conduct a physical examination and order tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Tests and imaging techniques used to diagnose benign airway tumors might include:
- Chest X-rays (radiographs)
- Computed tomography (CT) with 3-D reconstruction
- Flexible and rigid bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), and other interventional pulmonary procedures
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Pulmonary function tests (PFT)
Our team of highly specialized thoracic surgeons and interventional pulmonologists treat these tumors with a variety of techniques, including:
- Bronchoscopic tumor removal (resection): To open up the airway
- Airway reconstructive surgery: To remove the tumor and reconstruct the airway to maintain airflow to the lungs
- Laser surgery and other advanced bronchoscopic procedures: Includes thermal ablation or mechanical modalities to remove the tumor
- Stenting: A hollow tube to maintain the airflow to the lungs
- Tracheotomy: Surgery to bypass the airway obstruction
In addition to standard treatment for benign airway tumors, UT Southwestern gives patients access to the most promising new therapies through clinical trials. Talk with your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be right for you.
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