Tracheal collapse is a congenital disorder in which the cartilage rings of the trachea which normally help to maintain the tubular shape of the trachea are malformed. This results in varying degrees of collapse and flattening of the trachea. This disorder is prevalent within several dog breeds. In severe cases the narrowed airway can result in severe respiratory compromise and crisis. In these cases placement of synthetic stents to restore the normal tubular tracheal shape can result in normal respiration and a greatly improved quality of life for the patient.
figure 1.) Appearance of a grade 4 tracheal collapse at surgery. The cartilage rings are completely flattened instead of circular.
figure 2.) Appearance of the same trachea after placement of initial three tracheal stents. Note the tubular shape of the stented portion of the trachea.
figure 3.) Following placement of eight stents the trachea assumes a normal tubular shape resulting in a greatly increased passage way for air movement.