Bronchoscopy is a surgical technique to visualize the inside of the airways. Using sophisticated flexible fiber optic instruments, surgeons can explore the trachea, main stem bronchi, and some of the small bronchi.
In children, this procedure can be used to remove foreign objects that have been inhaled. In adults, the procedure usually is used for sampling (biopsy) suspicious lesions and for culturing specific areas of the lung.The bronchoscope is a long tube with a camera connected to a video that can be seeing the inside of the airways: larynx, trachea and bronchi. May be rigid or flexible. Flexible bronchoscopy uses fiber optics and is easier to handle.The use of rigid bronchoscope requires general anesthesia may be preferable in cases of use during surgery or in patients with major bleeding in the airway when flexible bronchoscopy is not possible.The (flexible) fiberoptic bronchoscope generally only requires patient sedation.With the bronchoscope we can: - wash out secretions and take samples (bronchial lavage) - perform biopsies and take samples of lung and bronchial tissue for histological examination, - and introduce a stent to dilate the airways.Bronscoscopy is indicated as a complementary test in the diagnosis of respiratory problems with bleeding, if there are suspicious radiographic or ultrasonographic findings or if a biopsy for histology, or (in some cases of infectious diseases) is needed. In addition, bronchoscopy may be performed to extract foreign objects that are clogging the airways (foreign body aspiration) or remove a mass that is plugging a bronchus and a stent (mesh ball or bronchial dilation) may be placed when needed to open a bronchus that is being compressed by a tumor mass.