Bronchoscopy Medical Procedure

Submitted on March 27, 2012

This is a medical procedure in which the doctor will view your airway with an instrument called a bronchoscope. This procedure will help the doctor to examine your lower airways, trachea, larynx, and throat. This procedure is used to treat health issues like some growth in the airway or diagnose a problem.

Types of Bronchoscopes

There are two types of bronchoscopes, a flexible bronchoscope and a rigid bronchoscope. The flexible one uses a thing, long lighted tube and is more popular for check-ups. The patient is more comfortable when a healthcare professional uses a flexible bronchoscope, and may not need anaesthesia. Flexible bronchoscope helps the technologist or the doctor to take a better look at the airways. Even a biopsy can be carried out with this bronchoscope.

A rigid bronchoscope uses a hollow and straight metal tube and is inserted after using anaesthesia. The rigid bronchoscope is used if there is bleeding in the airway that is blocking the view of the flexible scope. It is also used to removes throat tissue for biopsy; unblock the airway of objects, and in certain special procedures like dilating the airway.

Before Bronchoscopy

You need to tell your doctor if you are taking certain medicines; are allergic to anaesthesia or some medicine; take blood-thinning medicines or have bleeding problems; or are pregnant. The doctor will conduct some tests before doing the procedure. Like in most medical procedures, you will be asked not to drink or eat for about eight to ten hours.


In the beginning you might be given medicines to dry up the oral secretions and the secretions in the airways. You will be asked to remove your jewellery, lenses, make up, wigs and hearing aids, and also asked to empty your bladder. Once you remove all your clothes you will be asked to cover yourself with paper or cloth. A pulmonologist as well as an assistant will carry out the procedure. Certain tests will be done, and a chest X-ray is done before and after the procedure.

You will be given a sedative and may even have an IV in your vein. A local anaesthetic will be sprayed into your nose and mouth, and an anaesthetic ointment might be applied in your nose. The bronchoscope will be inserted through your nose or mouth. There might be an X-ray machine that the doctor uses to monitor devices like forceps that collect biopsy samples.