Bronchoscopy is the visualization of the lower airways using a flexible or rigid endoscope.
Bronchoscopy is often performed for diagnostic purposes (diagnosis of tumor, bleeding, infection, or trauma). It is also useful in the treatment of airway obstruction by tumors or foreign bodies, for removal of secretions and as an assistive technique in difficult intubation of the trachea. During bronchoscopy often an important diagnostic procedure called bronchioalveolar lavage is performed.
There are two types of brochoscopes: flexible (fiberoptic) and rigid. Flexible bronchoscopy is often performed under local anesthesia with the patient awake. Rigid bronchoscopes may be employed to remove foreign bodies or to place stents. Such procedures are usually done under general anesthesia.
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