Bronchoscopy is an advanced technique for the diagnosis of lung diseases. In it, a special endoscope, called a bronchoscope, is inserted into the lungs and airways. With the help of this procedure, different samples can be taken from the lungs and diagnosis of diseases made.
Bronchoscopy is done mostly for diagnosis of lung diseases. Some of the diseases which can be diagnosed are:
Bronchoscopy is mostly an out patient procedure done under local anesthesia. It generally is done within 15 -2 0 minutes and is not associated with any significant pain or discomfort. Mostly, it is the patients’ fear or panic which causes problems rather than any procedure related issues.
Important procedures commonly done with bronchoscopy include taking pieces of any growth or tumour in the airway for diagnostic purposes (endobronchial biopsy – EBB), taking pieces of lung tissue (trans-bronchial lung biopsy – TBLB) and taking samples from abnormally enlarged lymph nodes (trans-bronchial needle aspiration –TBNA). Bronchoscopy is especially required for the management of diseases such as lung cancer, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung diseases, etc.
Bronchoscopy is an extremely safe procedure. However, some minor complications may occur. These are mostly of little significance.
Most commonly, there may be some soreness in the throat due to the passage of the bronchoscope. It will resolve within 2 days. Occasionally, blood stained sputum may be noticed after the procedure which will also disappear within 2-3 days.
In less than 1% of cases, lung biopsy may lead to puncture of the lung – a condition called as pneumothorax. The patient needs to be admitted and given oxygen for a day or two after which the condition mostly resolves.
Bronchoscopy is valuable tool to diagnose lung diseases. It is safe and effective when done properly and in the right hands.