What is bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a procedure to look directly at the airways in the lungs through a thin, lighted tube called a bronchoscope. The bronchoscope is put in the nose or mouth and moved down the throat and windpipe. Your doctor can then see the voice box, trachea, large airways to the lungs (bronchi), and smaller branches of the bronchi.

A bronchoscopy may be used to:

  • Control bleeding
  • Remove foreign objects
  • Suction out secretions
  • Remove diseased tissue or lesions
  • Place stents
  • Put medicine into the lungs
  • Take tissue samples for a biopsy
  • Insert a breathing tube to help give oxygen

A bronchoscopy may be performed to diagnose and treat lung problems such as:

  • Tumors or bronchial cancer
  • Airway blockage or narrowing (strictures)
  • Inflammation and infections such as tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, fungal or parasitic lung infections
  • Interstitial pulmonary disease
  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Spots seen on chest X-rays
  • Vocal cord paralysis

This procedure may be done in an outpatient setting or as part of a hospital stay.

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