During a bronchoscopy, a doctor inserts a thin tube containing a light and camera into the lungs through the nose or mouth. The doctor can use the findings to diagnose infections, tumors, or diseases in the lungs.
It is a relatively quick and painless procedure, it requires little preparation, and people tend to recover quickly.
In this article, we describe what to expect before, during, and after a bronchoscopy. We also discuss the uses of this procedure and associated complications.
Why is it used
Doctors use bronchoscopy to detect the cause of breathing difficulties and lung problems, such as tumors, infection, and bleeding.
During the procedure, a doctor may also insert stents in the airways or take a biopsy, which involves removing a small sample of tissue for testing.
A doctor may recommend a bronchoscopy to:
- follow up on a scan that has indicated a lung infection or tumor, or a collapsed lung
- determine why someone is coughing up blood
- find the cause of a chronic cough
- discover the reason for shortness of breath
- look for blockages in the airways
- check for lung rejection, following a transplant
- assess damage after someone has inhaled chemicals or toxic gases
- take a biopsy