Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your
doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a
bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat,
trachea , and lower airways.
may be done to diagnose problems with the airway, the lungs, or with the
lymph nodes in the chest, or to treat problems such as
an object or growth in the airway. See a picture of
There are two types of
- Flexible bronchoscopy
uses a long, thin, lighted tube to look at your airway. The flexible
bronchoscope is used more often than the rigid bronchoscope because it usually
does not require
general anesthesia, is more comfortable for the
person, and offers a better view of the smaller airways. It also allows the
doctor to remove small samples of tissue (biopsy).
- Rigid bronchoscopy is usually done with general anesthesia and uses a
straight, hollow metal tube. It is used:
- When there is bleeding in the airway that
could block the flexible scope's view.
- To remove large tissue
samples for biopsy.
- To clear the airway of objects (such as a piece
of food) that cannot be removed using a flexible bronchoscope.
Special procedures, such as widening (dilating) the airway
or destroying a growth using a
laser, are usually done with a rigid
Why It Is Done
may be used to:
- Find the cause of airway problems, such as
bleeding, trouble breathing, or a long-term (chronic) cough.
tissue samples when other tests, such as a chest
CT scan, show problems with the lung or with
lymph nodes in the chest.
- Diagnose lung diseases by collecting tissue or mucus (sputum) samples for examination.
and determine the extent of
- Remove objects blocking the
- Check and treat
growths in the airway .
- Control bleeding.
- Treat areas of
the airway that have narrowed and are causing problems.
- Treat cancer of the airway using radioactive materials