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Bronchoscopy is a procedure performed with an endoscope (a flexible lighted tube with a camera) in order to inspect the airways of the lungs. A bronchoscopy is often performed for diagnostic purposes. 

The most common reasons that a bronchoscopy is performed are to:

  • Identify the site or cause of bleeding
  • Evaluate or help treat a pneumonia
  • Determine the consequences of trauma
  • Establish the diagnosis of a mass or tumor

Several diagnostic procedures can be performed during a bronchoscopy, including obtaining specimens through brushings, biopsies or a needle aspiration. 

A physician can also use a bronchoscopy for treatment. For example, bronchoscopy can be used in the treatment of airway obstruction by tumors or foreign bodies, during the removal of secretions and to assist the physician with placement of a breathing tube to allow mechanical ventilation of the lungs. 

Preparing for your Bronchoscopy