Airway stents can provide effective and timely relief in patients with central airway obstruction. Silicone based stents are the most commonly used airway stents worldwide with a long track record of safety. Metallic stents continue to evolve from the earliest uncovered versions to a variety of newly designed covered stents. Despite the availability of a variety of stent materials and designs, minimal advances have been made towards innovation in stent technology and an ideal stent has unfortunately not yet been developed. Nevertheless, the first generation of biodegradable airway stents are available, work on drug-eluted stents is in the pipeline and three-dimensional printing of a customized airway stent may be the future. In this review, we discuss selection and results for most commonly utilized airway stents.
Keywords: Airway strictures; airway stenting; benign airway stenosis; central airway obstruction; expandable metal stents; malignant strictures; silicone stents.