Treating TBM: BIDMC Surgeons Provide Rare Expertise for Chronic Lung Condition

“When we first met her, we had her cough,” recalls Dr. Sidhu Gangadharan, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology at BIDMC. “We could hear just from the sound that she very likely had the type of collapsing airway that our treatment does very well to take care of.”

What is TBM?

Normally, the central airways (the trachea and bronchi) remain open when you breathe. With TBM, the airways collapse. The condition is rare and often misdiagnosed as a more common lung condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or cystic fibrosis. While its cause is unclear, symptoms include:

A World Leader Here in Boston

But for more serious cases, surgery is often required. BIDMC is a world leader in surgical TBM treatment, which includes a procedure called tracheobronchoplasty. To determine if this procedure will be a success, doctors first place a temporary stent within the airways to keep passages open. When doctors performed this “stent trial” on Sandra, the results were encouraging.

“I am so grateful to Dr. Majid and Dr. Gangadharan,” she says. “My life now – it’s so incredible.”