Bronchoscopic Procedures Performed by Lung Specialists

The Lung Center at Mercy Baltimore

The Lung Center at Mercy offers various diagnostic tools for lung disorders, including bronchoscopy. Our doctors are dedicated to helping patients find the cause of their lung disorder. Bronchoscopy may be performed to diagnose a lung disorder and help determine the best treatment option.

About Bronchoscopy

A bronchoscopy, sometimes called fiber optic bronchoscopy, is a minimally invasive procedure in which a bronchoscope is inserted through the mouth or nose to view and examine the airways. A bronchoscope is a narrow, lighted tube attached to a camera. The purpose of a bronchoscopy is to diagnose lung nodules and manage lung cancers.

A bronchoscopy may involve taking tissue samples for biopsy that may be used to diagnose cancer, as well as infections of the lung, sarcoidosis and other conditions.

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Types of Bronchoscopy:

During a bronchoscopy a long, flexible tool called a bronchoscope is used to examine the small airways. 

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How is a Bronchoscopy performed?

Bronchoscopy - A bronchoscopy is performed by entering a bronchoscope through the nose or mouth. During the bronchoscopy your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels are monitored. A chest X-ray may be taken prior to and after the bronchoscopy. The bronchoscopy typically takes 30 to 60 minutes with 2 to 3 hours in the recovery room.

During a flexible bronchoscopy you will be awake and the following may take place:

  • A sedative is given for relaxation
  • The nose and mouth will get sprayed with local anesthesia to numb the throat.
  • An intravenous line (IV) may be used
  • An X-ray machine (fluoroscope) may be used to transmit an X-ray picture to a monitor, allowing the physician to see clearly as the bronchoscope moves down in the airways
  • Tissue samples for biopsies may be removed with a special brush or biopsy needle

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When is a Bronchoscopy the best option?

Some common reasons for a bronchoscopy may include:

Other possible reasons for bronchoscopy may include:

  • Removal of mucus or fluid from the airways
  • Removal of foreign objects from the airways
  • Open a blocked airway
  • Treat lung cancer
  • Wash out an airway