The procedure is simple and safe in expert hands. There are usually little or no complications from this procedure
Bronchoscopy is a medical procedure that involves the use of an endoscope called a bronchoscope to visualize the human airways. The bronchoscope is a thin tubular instrument equipped with a video camera at one end and a viewer at the other. It can be either flexible or rigid (metallic). The flexible bronchoscope is more commonly used as it does not require anesthesia and can be performed as an outpatient or daycare procedure in the Bronchoscopy suite or even at the patient’s bedside.
An advanced version of the flexible bronchoscope is the video bronchoscope, which incorporates a charged couple device at its tip to capture and transmit images to a video-processor unit. These images are then displayed on a monitor, offering magnified and sharper visuals. Multiple images can be examined simultaneously, and video recordings can be made and shared with patients.
The airways resemble hollow tubes, starting from a larger size and progressively dividing into smaller ones. The windpipe, known as the trachea, serves as the main and largest airway. It further divides into the right and left bronchi, which then branch into lobar bronchi, followed by segmental and sub-segmental bronchi. During a bronchoscopy, the bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth, passing through the throat (pharynx) and vocal cords (larynx) to reach the trachea.
It is then guided into the right or left bronchi, lobar bronchi, and segmental bronchi. By using the bronchoscope, physicians can visualize any abnormalities in the airways, such as inflammation, tumors, or bleeding. They can also collect tissue samples or mucus if necessary, and perform various procedures to aid in accurate diagnosis and guide appropriate treatment.
The entire bronchoscopy procedure typically takes around 5 to 7 minutes. However, the duration may vary if additional procedures are carried out.