Information About TBM for Referring Physicians

Tracheobronchomalacia treatment at BIDMC: surgical and non-surgical treatments, referrals and research

Challenges in diagnosing TBM

Tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) is a rare disorder characterized by weakness of the cartilage wall in the trachea and bronchi. Diagnosis is challenging, as the symptoms of TBM are similar to those seen in more common lung disorders such as asthma, COPD, and emphysema. Many patients go for months, even years, before TBM is diagnosed.

Symptoms of TBM include:

  • Dyspnea or orthopnea (shortness of breath; labored breathing)
  • Intractable bark-like cough
  • Inability to clear secretions from lungs
  • Recurrent respiratory infections

TBM cough before treatment


TBM cough after treatment


Patient education materials

We have patient education brochures and additional information available about TBM. If you would like to receive a packet of these materials to share with your patients, please contact us at 617-632-8252.

View Video: TBM Program

When to consider a referral

If you have a patient whose symptoms suggest TBM—or one who has not responded to treatment for an initial diagnosis of asthma, COPD, or another lung disorder—we welcome your referral.
Our TBM Program consists of a multidisciplinary team of experts—radiologists, otorhinolaryngologists, interventional pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons—who collaborate closely in diagnosis and care. We evaluate and treat more patients than anywhere else in the United States. We are also a national leader in TBM patient care and outcomes research.