What is a bronchoscopy?
A bronchoscopy is a procedure in which your healthcare provider examines the airways to your lungs with a thin, flexible, lighted tube called a bronchoscope.
When is it used?
This procedure may be done because:
- You have an irritation, growth, or scar tissue in part of your lungs or the airways to the lungs.
- There may be an inherited deformity in the lungs.
- There may be a foreign body, such as a peanut or coin, in your lungs.
- You may need your lungs checked for signs of cancer.
- You have a cough or you are coughing up blood.
- You need to have cultures taken to diagnose an infection.
- You need to have a small sample of lung tissue (biopsy) taken for lab tests.
What happens during the procedure?
You are given a local or general anesthetic. A local anesthetic may be sprayed into your nose and mouth to prevent gagging when the tube is passed through your mouth. If you have a local anesthetic, you may also be given a sedative to relax you. A general anesthetic relaxes your muscles, puts you to sleep and prevents you from feeling pain.
Your healthcare provider will pass a tube into your mouth and throat, down the windpipe and into the lungs. If your provider finds cancer cells, growths, sores or other unhealthy tissue, he or she may remove them or take a sample. If a foreign body is found, it is usually removed.