Bronchoscopy is an invasive procedure that is utilised to visualise the nasal passages, pharynx ,larynx , vocal cords and the airways. The following tissue samples are frequently taken and sent for testing in the laboratory.

  • Endo-bronchial biopsy: A small tissue sample is taken from the inside lining of the air tubes.
  • Bronchial brushings: A small brush is passed over the inside lining of the air tubes.
  • Bronchial washings: A small amount of fluid is put into the bronchial tubes and sucked back through the bronchoscope into a specimen jar. This is sent for analysis.
  • Trans-bronchial lung biopsy: A sample of lung tissue is taken from the outer parts of the lung.
  • Trans-bronchial needle aspiration: A needle is passed through the wall of the bronchus to take tissue samples from outside the wall.
  • Trans-tracheal needle aspiration: A needle is used to aspirate a lymph node or other structure outside the lungs.
  • Broncho-alveolar lavage: Fluid (about 1 cupful) is put into a single small air tube in the lung then sucked back up into a specimen jar. This collects cells from the air sacs of the lung.

Role of Bronchoscopy

  1. Diagnosis of infectious lung diseases including smear negative tuberculosis.
  2. Diagnosis of diffuse lung diseases.
  3. Diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.
  4. Undiagnosed cough, hemoptysis.
  5. Removal of foreign body, mucous plugs.

The procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia or under conscious sedation, rarely in apprehensive uncooperative procedure general anaesthesia may be required.