Tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) is a rare condition that occurs when the walls of the airway are weak. Specifically, weakness is seen in the trachea (the large tube through which air starts its journey to the lungs) and the bronchi (the two main offshoots of the trachea which let air reach the lungs.) This can cause the airway itself to become narrow or collapse.
There are two forms of TBM. One is a congenital form (called primary TBM) that usually develops when patients are infants or young children. The other is an acquired form (called secondary TBM) that usually develops when patients are adults.
Most cases of primary TBM are caused by genetic conditions that weaken the walls of the airway. The secondary form often happens as a result of trauma, through chronic inflammation or infection, and/or by prolonged compression of the airways. The Temple Lung Center has the only dedicated TBM program in the Philadelphia region, giving TBM patients the opportunity to receive symptom improvement, and better health-related quality of life for this rare condition.