Bronchial Thermoplasty for Asthma | MedStar Health

Bronchial thermoplasty (BT) is a safe outpatient bronchoscopy procedure that uses mild heat to reduce excessive smooth muscle in the airways, which helps reduce severe asthma attacks.

People with severe asthma have an excess of smooth muscle tissue lining their airways. During an asthma attack, this muscle constricts the airways, making breathing difficult. BT reduces the amount of excess muscle and helps minimize the narrowing of your airways during an asthma attack.

How does bronchial thermoplasty (BT) work?

Bronchial thermoplasty
  • BT, delivered by the Alair™ System, uses mild heat to actually reduce the amount of excess smooth muscle tissue in the airways. Less muscle tissue means less airway constriction during an asthma attack. The majority of treated patients can thus breathe more easily and are less likely to have an asthma attack.
  • BT does not replace asthma medication but works with these medications to give added, long-lasting protection from serious asthma symptoms.


To ensure safety and optimal results every step of the way, BT is typically performed under moderate sedation in three separate sessions scheduled 3 weeks apart. Each session lasts about an hour and focuses on a different part of the lung to ensure all of the affected areas are treated. The device is introduced into your airways through a bronchoscope that is inserted into your mouth or nose, so no incision is required.

After the procedure, you will be monitored for 2 to 4 hours and discharged on the same day. The treating physician will provide you with more details on what to expect during and after the procedure.


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