Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure used to examine the inside of the airways (bronchi) and lungs. During this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope is passed through the mouth or nose, down the throat, and into the lungs to visualize the airways and collect samples for further testing.
There are two types of bronchoscopy: flexible and rigid bronchoscopy. Flexible bronchoscopy is the most common type of bronchoscopy, as it allows for a more detailed examination of the airways with less discomfort and risk than rigid bronchoscopy.
Indications for Bronchoscopy
Bronchoscopy may be done to:
- Diagnose lung conditions, such as lung cancer, infections, inflammation, or bleeding.
- Evaluate the cause of a persistent cough or wheezing.
- Remove foreign objects or mucus plugs from the airways.
- Treat conditions such as lung cancer, airway obstructions, and bleeding.
Before the procedure, the patient is given a sedative or general anesthesia to minimize discomfort and help them relax. The bronchoscope is then inserted through the mouth or nose and passed down the throat into the lungs. A small camera at the end of the bronchoscope allows the doctor to see the airways on a video screen. If necessary, the doctor can take tissue samples (biopsies) from the lung or lymph nodes for further testing.
Although it is is generally considered safe, there are some risks associated with the procedure, such as:
- Sore throat or hoarseness
- Bleeding from the biopsy site
- Breathing difficulties
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
- Allergic reactions to medications used during the procedure
After the procedure
After the procedure, the patient is monitored in a recovery area until the sedative wears off. They may experience some mild discomfort or a sore throat, but most people can resume normal activities within a day or two.
It is a valuable diagnostic and therapeutic tool for evaluating and treating lung conditions. It is a safe and effective procedure that can provide important information to help doctors diagnose and treat lung diseases. If you have any concerns about your lung health or are experiencing respiratory symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider about whether a bronchoscopy may be appropriate for you