Bronchoscopy 2018-02-21T15:32:56-06:00


Bronchoscopy is a device that is used to see inside the lungs and through the airways. During bronchoscopy, the doctor analyzes all the parts of the lungs and respiratory system. The bronchoscope has a light and camera. A bronchoscopy is a diagnostic tool that diagnoses all kinds of lung related issues. There are two major types of bronchoscopy. Both use a tube to see inside the lungs. If you notice abnormal changes in your breathing or a cough that does not seem to go away, you may need a procedure like a bronchoscopy to diagnose your problem.

Two Types of Bronchoscopy

There are two main types of bronchoscopy. The first type is called Flexible Bronchoscopy. Flexible bronchoscopy uses a long thin tube to look into the airways. A flexible bronchoscope is used more often than other types of bronchoscopes. The flexible bronchoscope does not require any general anesthesia. The flexible bronchoscope is much more comfortable than a rigid scope. It looks into the smaller airways of the lungs. This bronchoscope also takes pieces of tissue out for bioptic purposes.

The second type of bronchoscope is rigid bronchoscopy. This procedure is done under anesthesia because it is not as comfortable as flexible bronchoscopy. The bronchoscope is hollow and metal. The metal material makes it rigid and not flexible. This bronchoscope is used when there is a lot of bleeding in the airway. Sometimes blood prevents flexible bronchoscopy from seeing the airways. Rigid bronchoscopes also take tissues for the purpose of doing a biopsy. This bronchoscope removes large samples tissues. If something gets stuck in the airways, rigid bronchoscopes can remove them. Food is a common problem found stuck in the airways. You can also use a rigid bronchoscope to do other procedures, such as those that require laser use. Both bronchoscopes work. They each have their pros and cons. The doctor will choose one based on the situation.

Bronchoscopy Procedure

When you have the procedure, the first step is to remove all loose articles and go to the restroom. You cannot get up during the procedure. You will have to lay down on a bed on your back. A paper cloth is placed on top of you. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels are all monitored through the procedure. For flexible bronchoscopy, you are given a sedative to relax you. You are awake during the procedure. The tube is put into the mouth or nose. An anesthetic is put inside the mouth to numb it and make the procedure easier. With a rigid bronchoscopy, you are put under general anesthesia. Since you are sleep, you will be connected to a breathing machine. The bronchoscope goes in the same way. After the procedures, the doctor may use an X-ray machine to see how effective the procedure is. During each procedure, tissue samples may be removed. Once the procedure is over, a saline solution is used to wash out the airways.

Conditions for Bronchoscopy

There are multiple reasons why you would use a bronchoscope. The first reason is coughing and trouble breathing. The procedure can see if anything is blocking the airways. Cancer can be treated through the procedure as well. Bleeding is controlled, and objects are removed. Samples of lung tissue are also taken for the purpose of doing a biopsy. Other diseases and conditions are diagnosed too. If there are cysts and growths in the lungs, bronchoscope will reveal it. A bronchoscopy can prevent minor problems from becoming large ones.


After the procedure, you will recover for up to 3 hours. You are not supposed to drink or eat for the first few hours. It is important to spit and not swallow anything until the numbness wears off. Since you have been under sedation, you should not drive. You might have some bleeding after the procedure if a biopsy was done. If you have bleeding for any other reason, you should talk with your physician. There are a lot of things that you can do to ease your throat soreness. When you can swallow, gargling will be good. Throat lozenges help as well.


There are several risks to the procedure. The first risk is bronchial spasms. These spasms can affect breathing. Hoarseness is another risk for the procedure. Infections are rare, but pneumonia is the most common infection. Irregular heartbeats is another risk.

Bronchoscopy is a quick and fairly painless procedure that has many benefits. You cannot look in the mirror and see that you have lung problems. You have to have a procedure to see inside the airways. You will notice symptoms in the beginning. Trouble breathing and an ongoing cough are two common symptoms. Thinking about having a tool put down your throat may make you nervous, but you will be under sedation so you will not feel a thing. Do not let the process of the procedure keep you away from getting the diagnosis you need.


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