Abstract The retrospective 12-year experience of anesthetizing patients with central airway obstructions for laser treatment with a CO 2 and two types of Nd: YAG laser has been reviewed and evaluated. More than 300 patients have been treated, many on several occasions. The beneficial effects of treatment to the majority of patients have been significant. There has been a small associated mortality because the majority are in the high-risk categories of fitness for anesthesia, but no clinical evidence that it is directly attributable to the techniques of anesthesia or ventilation. Therefore, although laser technology has evolved into systems suitable to be applied with fiberoptic bronchoscopes and local and sedation anesthesia, the use of a rigid bronchoscope and the evolved techniques of anesthesia and ventilation remain appropriate to the clinical needs and offer advantages.