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A bronchoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to examine your airways. The procedure uses thin flexible tube with camera at the tip. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will thread the bronchoscope through your nose or mouth and down your throat to reach your lungs.

Why does a doctor order a bronchoscopy?

Using the bronchoscope, your doctor can view all the structures that make up your respiratory system. These include your larynx, your trachea, and the smaller airways of your lungs, which are called the bronchi and bronchioles.

Taking a look through the bronchoscope can help your doctor diagnose and treat any lung-related issues you’re experiencing. Your doctor may also collect biopsies of airway secretions or tissues to help diagnose lung and airway conditions.

A bronchoscopy can be used to diagnose:

  • a lung disease
  • a tumor
  • a chronic cough
  • an infection

  • The procedure can also be used to detect the source of pulmonary bleeding or identify foreign bodies in young children. Your doctor may order a bronchoscopy if you have an abnormal chest X-ray or CT scan that shows evidence of an infection, a tumor, or a collapsed lung.


    The procedure is also sometimes used as a treatment tool. A bronchoscopy can allow your doctor to deliver medication to your lungs or remove an object that’s caught in your airways, such as a piece of food. The procedure can also be used to administer laser treatment for certain small tumors. If needed, bronchoscopy can be used to place small stents in the airways to keep them open.