Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version


Other Names for this Disease
  • TBM
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.


Tracheomalacia (TM) is a rare condition where the trachea is weak due to soft cartilage in a certain area or throughout the trachea.  If the mainstem bronchi are involved as well, the term tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) is used. Breathing becomes difficult as a result of the soft tracheal cartilage. Other signs and symptoms include wheezing, frequent upper respiratory infections and a bluish color to the skin surrounding the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. The cause of this condition is believed to be hereditary when it occurs in children. In adults, smoking or second hand smoke, thyroid tumors, chronic irritation and damage to the trachea are all possible causes. The recommended treatment for this condition is surgery to correct the weakened trachea. It should be noted that, historically, many authors have used TM and TBM interchangeably, especially in studies found in the pediatric literature. (Click here to view a diagram of the respiratory system which includes the trachea and the bronchi.)  [1] [2]
Last updated: 9/12/2013


  1. Carden KA, Boiselle PM, Waltz DA, and Ernst A. . Tracheomalacia and Tracheobronchomalacia in Children and Adults: An In-Depth Review. Chest. 2005; 127(3):984-1005. Accessed 9/12/2013.
  2. Chapter 19 - Large Airway disease.. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging, 4th ed. . 2001;
Your Questions Answered
by the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

2 question(s) from the public on Tracheobronchomalacia have been answered. See questions and answers. You can also submit a new question.
On this page

In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Tracheobronchomalacia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.