19 Dec Bronchoscopy
Bronchoscopy is used to visualise the upper airways (trachea and bronchi) and diagnose causes of bleeding, foreign bodies, and conditions such as infections, tuberculosis, and cancers. The procedure is carried out on an empty stomach and under sedation. After your nose and throat are numbed, the doctor passes a flexible instrument (a bronchoscope) through your nose or mouth and into your windpipe and lower airways. The bronchoscope allows the doctor to see inside your airways and, with special attachments, to take samples of fluid or tissue from inside your lungs, if necessary.
What is it?
Bronchoscopy is an examination of the larger airways (trachea and bronchi) using an instrument called a bronchoscope. A bronchoscope is type of endoscope — a flexible instrument that sees inside the body using fiberoptic technology.
Why is it done?
Bronchoscopy is used to visualise the upper airways and diagnose conditions such as:
- Causes of bleeding
- Foreign bodies
Biopsies can be taken, where a small instrument is passed down the bronchoscope, and some tissue is removed for analysis.
Before – how to prepare
You need to eat and drink nothing (nil per mouth) for 12 hours before the procedure.
You will be asked to sign a consent form, indicating that you understand what is going to happen and that your doctor has explained the procedure to you, including any risks involved.
During – how the test is done
This procedure is usually done under sedation, meaning that you will be sleepy and relaxed, but probably not unconscious.
A sterile tube (drip) will be placed in your arm so that you can receive intravenous medication to ease discomfort. You will be given medication to numb your nose or throat. The doctor will gently pass the flexible bronchoscope through your nose or mouth, then into your windpipe and lower airways. Although you will not be able to talk, you will be able to breathe, and the doctor’s assistant will give you extra oxygen as necessary. Depending on the purpose of your bronchoscopy, the doctor may use special bronchoscope attachments to take samples of fluid or tissue from inside your lungs.
After the test
After bronchoscopy, you will be watched for a while in your doctor’s office to make sure that you feel well enough to leave. Since you will not be able to drive, a friend or family member should be there to help you get home safely. Your doctor will tell you when you can resume eating and drinking and when you can return to your normal daily activities.
Since your throat may feel sore or dry after the procedure, ask your doctor about soothing lozenges or gargles to use at home.
Risks and Compilations
During bronchoscopy, there is a remote risk of an allergic reaction to the anaesthetics used. There is also a risk that the bronchoscope could injure your nose, parts of your mouth or throat, teeth or breathing passages.
While peripheral devices are more convenient and cheaper than central devices, they are not as accurate. Thus if a peripheral device is suggestive of osteoporosis, this finding should be verified using a central device.
Bronchoscopy is used to visualise the upper airways (trachea and bronchi) and diagnose causes of bleeding, foreign bodies, and conditions such as infections, tuberculosis, and cancers.