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, Reference larynx Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, Reference trachea Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, and lower airways.
Bronchoscopy may be done to diagnose problems with the airway, the lungs, or with the Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window in the chest, or to treat problems such as an object or growth in the airway. See a picture of Reference bronchoscopy Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
There are two types of bronchoscopy.
- 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 Reference general anesthesia Opens New Window, 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 (Reference biopsy Opens New Window).
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 Reference laser Opens New Window, are usually done with a rigid bronchoscope.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 24, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology