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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Complex Airway & Other Disorders

The airway includes the trachea (windpipe), and the tracheobronchial tree, which includes the primary, secondary and tertiary bronchi, leading to the terminal bronchioles, which contain the alveoli (air sacs), which cluster like bunches of grapes within the bronchioles. The alveoli are tightly wrapped in blood vessels, where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. The healthy function of the airway is critical to life, health, and well-being.

Some diseases of the airway include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Airway tumors
  • Asthma

A medical condition that may also be treated by a thoracic surgeon is hyperhidrosis, using a thoracic procedure known as a sympathectomy. This surgery involves the controlled deflation and reinflation of the lungs as the surgeon accesses the nerves that are causing the hyperhidrosis.

Why Choose Northwestern Memorial?

The Thoracic Surgery Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the latest surgical procedures for benign and malignant diseases of the chest, including the tracheobronchial tree (airways), pleura and diaphragm.

Last UpdateJanuary 24, 2012
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