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What is a bronchoscopy and what is it for?

There are diagnostic tests that, due to ignorance, generate fear, insecurity and even anxiety. Sometimes, even when the specialist briefly explains how to do it. That’s why in today’s health blog post we’ll briefly explain what bronchoscopy is and what it’s for.

Bronchoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube 5-6 mm in diameter, with a light and camera, is used to view the inside of the throat, trachea and bronchi. As the head of the Pneumology Service at the Vinalopó University Hospital, Beatriz Amat, explains, bronchoscopy is performed under sedation, to reduce discomfort in patients, such as anxiety, nausea and coughs that can arise as consequence of nervousness or the effects of the introduction of the tube in the throat.

Bronchoscopies have several applications. On the one hand, as we have explained, it is a diagnostic test that, thanks to the images it provides, makes it possible to visualize the inside of the respiratory tract. But, in addition, it facilitates the collection of samples of respiratory secretions, cytology, punctures or biopsies.

Video by Dr. Beatriz Amat, head of the Pneumology Service at the Vinalopó University Hospital

It is a fundamental test to correctly diagnose bronchial infections such as tuberculosis, but also lung cancer. In addition, it is a very useful procedure to determine the source of bleeding in the respiratory tract and can sometimes have a therapeutic purpose, for example, for the aspiration of secretions, the unobstruction of the trachea by tumors or strictures and the extraction of foreign bodies such as teeth, nuts, chicken or rabbit bones, pills, fruit bones and even screws or dental instruments or that have been introduced into the respiratory tract by accident.

Dr. Amat assures that it is a test that does not usually have side effects or complications, “and if there are, they are of a mild nature”, she adds.

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