Sleeve resection with and without pulmonary resection is safe, effective, and appropriate treatment for a wide range of endobronchial lesions including neoplasms of low-grade malignant potential and selected cases of bronchogenic carcinoma. Sixty-three patients underwent 64 sleeve resection procedures (47 with concomitant pulmonary resection and 17 without) at the Massachusetts General Hospital between 1962 in 1986 with a 30 day mortality rate of 4.7%. Applicability of the technique for bronchial lesions which do not require concomitant pulmonary resection is emphasized. Types of disease included a heterogeneous collection of 31 benign tumors, neoplasms of low-grade malignant potential, and bronchostenosis and 33 bronchogenic carcinomas. Actuarial disease-free survival rate for the former group was 100% at 5 years. Quality of life was excellent for this group. Five-year survival rates for bronchogenic carcinoma (24 squamous cell, seven adenocarcinoma, two undifferentiated) were 58% +/- 25% (+/- standard error), 69 +/- 18%, and 38% +/- 13% in Stages I, II, and III, respectively. The 5 year survival rate of 31% +/- 16% in 14 patients selected because of decreased respiratory reserve compared with 60% +/- 14% in 19 patients for whom sleeve was the operation of choice on the sole basis of anatomic suitability. Sleeve resection is the ideal form of excisional therapy for benign endobronchial tumors, bronchostenosis, tumors of low-grade malignant potential, and for selected cases of carcinoma.