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URMC / Mary Parkes Center / Services / Bronchial Thermoplasty

Bronchial Thermoplasty

A New Procedure for Severe Asthma in Adults

Bronchial thermoplasty is a procedure for severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists.

How Bronchial Thermoplasty Works

The Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System (the “Alair® System”) delivers thermal energy to the airway wall in a precisely controlled manner in order to reduce excessive airway smooth muscle (ASM). Reducing airway smooth muscle decreases the ability of the airways to constrict, thereby reducing the frequency of asthma attacks.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Airway Cross Sections

The Bronchial Thermoplasty Procedure

This minimally invasive bronchoscopic procedure is performed in three outpatient procedure visits, each treating a different area of the lungs and scheduled approximately three weeks apart. After all three procedures are performed, the bronchial thermoplasty treatment is complete. No clinical data are available studying the safety and/or effectiveness of repeat treatments.
Bronchial thermoplasty is routinely performed under moderate sedation or light anesthesia, and the patient typically goes home the same day.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Compliments Asthma Medications

Bronchial thermoplasty is expected to complement asthma maintenance medications by providing long-lasting asthma control and improving asthma-related quality of life of patients with severe asthma. In addition, bronchial thermoplasty has been demonstrated to reduce severe exacerbations (asthma attacks) emergency rooms visits for respiratory symptoms, and time lost from work, school and other daily activities due to asthma.

Bronchial Thermoplasty Benefits and Risks


  • 32% reduction in asthma attacks
  • 84% reduction in emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms
  • 73% reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms
  • 66% reduction in days lost from work/school/other daily activities due to asthma
  • Improved quality of life

Two year follow-up indicates...

  • Reductions in asthma attacks, ER visits, and hospitalizations for respiratory symptoms are maintained

Stable safety profile observed out to 5 years


  • In the period immediately following Bronchial Thermoplasty, there is an expected increase and worsening of asthma-related respiratory symptoms
  • These events typically occur within a day of the procedure and resolve on average within seven days with standard care
  • There is a small possibility (3.4% per procedure) that the temporary worsening of asthma symptoms after a procedure may result in the patient being admitted to the hospital for management of asthma symptoms

*Benefits and Risk Results from the Asthma Intervention Research 2 (AIR2) Trial