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
- Diagnosis of infectious lung diseases including smear negative tuberculosis.
- Diagnosis of diffuse lung diseases.
- Diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.
- Undiagnosed cough, hemoptysis.
- 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.