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A bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine the respiratory tract and diagnose lung diseases. It is performed using a bronchoscope which is a thin tube with a camera fitted to it. Through this instrument, the doctor is able to see the voice box, trachea, large and small airways to the lung.

Who needs Bronchoscopy?

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing out blood
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tumors or bronchial cancer
  • Inflammation and infection such as pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Parasitic lung infections.
  • Findings on a chest X-ray or CT scan

What are the benefits of Bronchoscopy?

  • Diagnose a lung problem
  • Spot a lung infection
  • Conduct a biopsy of lung tissue
  • Remove a blockage
  • Put a stent into an airway to hold the airway open
  • Treat a lung problem, such as bleeding or a collapsed lung
  • Look at lymph nodes near the lungs
  • Draining an area of pus

What to expect from the procedure?

The procedure is performed using a flexible bronchoscope or a rigid bronchoscope. Flexible bronchoscopy is more common than rigid bronchoscopy, and flexible bronchoscopy usually does not require general anesthesia. Before the procedure, medicine is given to relax the patient. A liquid medicine may be given to numb the nose and throat. Some patients would require oxygen therapy. A numbing medicine is sprayed into the back of the throat to prevent gagging when the tube is inserted. The spray may have a bitter taste.

Bronchoscope is inserted and the inside of the respiratory tract is visualized using a camera. If required, a biopsy or mucus sample is taken.

After the procedure one will have to stay in the recovery room for some time, where the pulse, BP and respiration are monitored. A chest X-ray may be done to make sure that lungs are okay. One might have some mild pain in the throat and may not be allowed to eat or drink till gag reflex has returned.

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