Bronchoscopy is an endoscopic technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. An instrument (bronchoscope) is inserted into the airways, usually through the nose or mouth, or occasionally through a tracheostomy. This allows the practitioner to examine the patient’s airways for abnormalities such as foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation. Specimens may be taken from inside the lungs.
Indications for bronchoscopy are- to view abnormalities of the airway, to obtain tissue specimens of the inside the lungs by biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage , to evaluate a person who has bleeding in the lungs possible lung cancer, to remove secretions, blood, or foreign objects lodged in the airway laser resection of tumors or benign tracheal and bronchial strictures , stent insertion to palliate extrinsic compression of the tracheobronchial lumen from either malignant or benign disease processes
Complications from fiberoptic bronchoscopy remain extremely low. Common complications include excessive bleeding following biopsy. A lung biopsy also may cause leakage of air, called pneumothorax. Pneumothorax occurs in less than 1% of lung biopsy cases. Laryngospasm is a rare complication but may sometimes require tracheal intubation. Patients with tumors or significant bleeding may experience increased difficulty breathing after a bronchoscopic procedure, sometimes due to swelling of the mucous membranes of the airways.