Bronchoscopy: What It Is For, How It Is Done, And Its Indications


Amidst pollution, diverse addictions, and unruly quality of life, the lungs are screaming for help. A bronchoscopy is essential to identify any problems with this powerful machine that are our lungs.

What Is Bronchoscopy, And What Is It For?

Bronchoscopy is a test commonly used to identify problems in the respiratory system. The procedure aims to obtain images of the larynx, bronchial tree, trachea, and possible collection of materials or lung tissue to diagnose any pathology. With the result in hand, the specialist doctor can obtain satisfactory results in terms of diagnosis.

The bronchoscope, the device used during the procedure, has a small image collecting device and has passageways for instruments responsible for removing tissue for biopsy or any foreign body from the respiratory system. Rigid Bronchoscopy may be indicated in cases of pneumonia, involuntarily removing aspirated material, suspected cancer, persistent spots on X-rays, bloody sputum, or persistent cough.

How Is The Exam Performed?

Bronchoscopy is a simple, quick, and effective exam with light sedation, allowing visualization of the affected area. Through the bronchoscope, a thin and flexible tube, the thoracic surgeon can perform biopsies, capture high-definition images, remove foreign bodies or perform infusion/aspiration of liquids. The flexible bronchoscope is pencil-thick, with flexibility for insertion far into the airway.

During the procedure, the patient remains to lie down to avoid the risk of nausea and choking. The anesthetist administers the sedative and local anesthetic in a spray or gel. The patient needs to be monitored, as the effect of anesthesia can last from 40 to 60 minutes after the exam.

In biopsy cases, forceps are usually used that are passed through the inside of the bronchoscope. After collection, the material is sent to a pathologist for clinical analysis.

After several technological advances, the procedure can also be indicated for children due to flexible equipment of different calibers and precise diagnoses.

What are the possible risks of the procedure?

The risks are minimal. However, as much as bronchoscopy is a safe and simple exam, there can be complications like any other procedure. Although rare, they include:

  • Possible bleeding in the area where the biopsy was performed
  • Inflammation in the area where the test was performed
  • Infections or pneumothorax
  • Reaction to anesthesia or
  • Complications of pre-existing disease.

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