What is a bronchoscopy?

A bronchoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat respiratory conditions. Bronchoscopy involves inserting a bronchoscope through your mouth or nose and passing it into your airways and lungs. A bronchoscope is a lighted, tube-like instrument with a camera for examining the inside of your airways. 

Bronchoscopy is only one method of diagnosing and treating lung-related diseases. Discuss all your options with your doctor to understand which choices are best for you.  

Types of bronchoscopy

The types of bronchoscopy procedures include:

  • Flexible bronchoscopy involves passing a thin, flexible bronchoscope through your nose or mouth, down your throat, and into your airways. The bronchoscope has a light and small camera that allows your doctor to see and take pictures of your windpipe and airways.

  • Rigid bronchoscopy involves passing a wider and stiffer bronchoscope through the mouth. This larger bronchoscope can accommodate special instruments used for treatments. Treatments include removing a foreign body, inserting special ultrasound equipment, treating bleeding, and placing stents to keep the airway open.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Aug 23, 2012

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