Bronchial thermoplasty

Find out how bronchial thermoplasty can help to reduce the symptoms of severe asthma and reduce your risk of asthma attacks.

What is bronchial thermoplasty?

Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment for severe asthma. It is a procedure to help open the lungs by reducing muscle around the airways. This can help you to breathe more easily.

What does bronchial thermoplasty involve?

Bronchial thermoplasty uses heat to remove excess muscle around the airways. A heated device is fixed to the end of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into your lungs. When the excess muscle is removed, the lungs have more room to expand, meaning you will be able to breathe more easily.

Bronchial thermoplasty is done under local anesthetic. This means you’ll be awake but won’t be able to feel the procedure.

Bronchial thermoplasty is usually done in a specialist centre. You’ll probably have three sessions with a few weeks between sessions.

Who can have bronchial thermoplasty?

Your healthcare professional may suggest bronchial thermoplasty if you are over 18 and have severe asthma that is not well-controlled by your medicines.

An asthma specialist will assess you if they think you may benefit from bronchial thermoplasty.

What are the benefits of bronchial thermoplasty?

Studies show that bronchial thermoplasty can lower your risk of:

  • having an asthma attack 
  • needing to go to hospital due to your asthma
  • having asthma symptoms.

Bronchial thermoplasty side effects

The most common short-term risk of bronchial thermoplasty is that your asthma symptoms get worse before they get better. Sometimes this means you’ll have to stay in hospital after the procedure.

The long-term risks and benefits of bronchial thermoplasty are not yet fully understood. Bronchial thermoplasty is still a new procedure, but current studies suggest it is safe.

Your specialist will be able to talk you through any risks so you can both decide if this treatment is right for you.

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