Bronchoscopy is the process of examining the bronchi – the airways inside the lungs – with a fibre-optic instrument called a bronchoscope. It allows the operator to directly visualise these tubes to look for disease, foreign bodies, or tumours.

How the Test is Performed

Bronchoscopy is an endoscopic test which uses a fibre-optic intrument called a bronchoscope, to look inside the tubes of the lungs – the bronchi. The instrument is thin and flexible, and can be manoeuvred through the branching system of bronchi by a highly trained expert, usually a Respiratory Physician. This procedure would be impossible to tolerate without sedation; subjects are usually heavily sedated or anaesthetised. The procedure is usually performed in an operating theatre or dedicated bronchoscopy facility, as a day procedure, where patients are allowed home after they have recovered fully from the effects of their anaesthetic.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms

Bronchoscopy may be requested to investigate an abnormality on a Chest X-Ray or CT scan of the chest, to look for an inhaled foreign body (such as a peanut in a young child), or to investigate bleeding from the airways or lungs (coughing up blood is known as haemoptysis).

Test Results Explained

Bronchoscopy results will usually give a visual description of any abnormalities encountered in the bronchi. If tissue biopsies are taken, the results of these may take a couple of weeks or more.

Related Specialists

Related Procedures

  • Tissue Biopsy
  • Intravenous Cannulation

Related Tests

Also Known As

  • Bronchoscope
  • “scope” (informal)



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