Biodegradable Airway Stents - Bench to Bedside: A Comprehensive Review

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Abstract

Airway stents are indicated to treat symptomatic narrowing or to close fistulas of the central airways. They are generally divided into two types: the silicone stents and the metallic stents. Unlike in malignancies, removability is a major objective of temporary stenting in benign conditions, which poses the challenge of a new rigid bronchoscopic procedure under general anesthesia and stent removal with all its attendant risks and costs. The concept of a biodegradable (BD) stent that could maintain the patency of an airway for a predetermined duration of time is very appealing. These BD stents would gradually degrade and eventually vanish from the airway once they are no longer needed. Such stents are currently an area of intense research. Another very promising concept of drug delivery with such stents is also a very exciting area of current research. The aim of this comprehensive review is to discuss all pertinent available literature on the use of BD materials in various clinical applications and to extensively review all animal and humans trials involving BD airway stents.

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