Test and Treatment: Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is used to diagnose or treat lung disorders, such as lung cancer and tuberculosis. A rigid or flexible tube called a bronchoscope is used to view the bronchi (airways). The rigid type is passed through the mouth into the lungs under general anaesthesia. The flexible type is passed into the lungs through the nose or mouth, which are first numbed by a local anaesthetic. Instruments to take tissue samples and perform laser surgery can be introduced through the tube.

Flexible bronchoscopy

You will be given a local anaesthetic spray to numb your nose and throat. The bronchoscope is inserted into one nostril or down the throat and into the lung.

Route of bronchoscope


Tumour in the bronchus

This view down a bronchoscope clearly shows a tumour almost completely blocking a bronchus. During bronchoscopy, cell and tissue samples can be taken through the bronchoscope for laboratory analysis.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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