Bronchoscopy is a technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for
diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. An instrument (bronchoscope) is inserted
into the airways, usually through the nose or mouth, or occasionally through
This allows the practitioner to examine the patient's airways for abnormalities
such as foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation. Specimens may be taken
from inside the lungs. The construction of bronchoscopes ranges from rigid metal
tubes with attached lighting devices to flexible optical fiber instruments with
realtime video equipment.
Once the tube is inserted into the lungs, The doctor may send saline solution
through the tube. This washes the lungs and allows the doctor to collect samples
of lung cells, fluids, and other materials inside the air sacs. This part of the
procedure is called a lavage.Sometimes, tiny brushes, needles, or forceps may be
passed through the bronchoscope and used to take tissue samples (biopsies) from your lungs.
The pieces of lung material that are removed are small. The doctor can also
place a stent in the airway or view the lungs with ultrasound during a bronchoscopy.