Bronchoscopy is an advanced procedure that helps your doctor to get a clear visual of your lungs and air passages. A pulmonologist or a doctor who specializes in lung conditions performs it. In this medical test, your doctor uses an instrument called a bronchoscope.
It is a thin tube, which has a camera and light attached to it. The doctor passes the bronchoscope via your mouth or nose, then through your throat till it accesses your lungs.
With the help of bronchoscopy, your doctor can view and examine all the parts of your respiratory system and provide treatment for breathing problems. In most cases, a flexible bronchoscope gives positive results. However, if there is a large object stuck in your airways or excess bleeding in your lungs, then your doctor uses a rigid bronchoscope.
Why is Bronchoscopy Done?
If your doctor suspects that you are suffering from a lung problem, then he or she will recommend a bronchoscopy to find the cause of lung disease. Below mentioned are the reasons why you may need a bronchoscopy:
- For identifying a lung infection
- If your doctor suspects something unusual like a tumour, an infection, or a collapsed lung, in your chest X-ray
- To get a diagnosis of lung conditions like emphysema and bronchitis.
- If you have a persistent cough
- To confirm the occurrence of vocal cord paralysis.
- For placing a small tube to keep your airway open
- For removing mucus or any foreign object or any other obstacle in your lungs or airway like a tumour
- For doing a biopsy of lung tissue
- In patients with lung cancer, to examine the lymph nodes in the chest, a bronchoscope is used that has a built-in ultrasound probe.
- If your body has rejected a lung transplant
- Bronchoscopy can also help in orthopaedics by detecting changes caused due to rheumatoid lung disease. It is a complication resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
How does your doctor prepare you for a bronchoscopy?
Bronchoscopy is an outpatient procedure, so you go home on the same day.
The following are the preparatory steps:
- Ask your doctor if you need to stop any medicine, drug, or supplement that you take regularly and any other questions if you have in mind.
- Your doctor will expect you to stop eating or drinking anything about 6-12 hours before the procedure.
- Bring along someone with you to the clinic because you will not be able to go home independently.
- Before the procedure, your doctor uses a local anaesthetic gel and spray on your nose and throat.
- He or she administers the sedative intravenously. The need for general anaesthesia is rare. The result will be that you are awake but drowsy.
- A nursing staff member connects you to sensors that monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen.
What to Expect During a Bronchoscopy?
Once you feel comfortable, your doctor inserts the bronchoscope through your nose or mouth to reach your lungs. It certainly feels uncomfortable, but it will not hurt. The camera takes images and sends them to the screen. If your doctor wants to gather tissue samples, then he or she attaches needles or brushes to the bronchoscope.
In case your airways are blocked, your doctor might use a stent to keep them open. After your doctor has examined your lungs, he or she will take the bronchoscope out.
Including the preparatory steps, the procedure, and the recovery time, you can expect it to get over in approximately 4-5 hours.
Are There Any Risks of Bronchoscopy?
This procedure rarely causes any risks to your health. But like any other test, there are a few possibilities like:
- Lung infection
- Breathing trouble
- Bleeding, specifically at the site of biopsy
- Low oxygen level during the procedure
- Pneumothorax – Part of the lung getting collapsed
As per the American Cancer Society, some symptoms may indicate that you have developed a complication and need urgent medical attention. So, the right approach is to call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty in breathing
- If there is blood when you cough
Generally, your doctor can treat these symptoms. Very seldom, a potentially life-threatening condition arises due to a bronchoscopy.
Today, when Covid 19 is all over the news, it is crucial that you are cautious about your respiratory health, especially, your lungs. Do not take your diet lightly, and keep in mind that cold weather increases your risk of respiratory ailments leading to breathing issues. Such health problems can put immense pressure on your health and can lead to depression too.
Avoid any delay in treatment for breathing problems, and consult the top lung specialist in Coimbatore so that your condition does not worsen. If you are looking for the best bronchoscopy treatment in Coimbatore, then opt for the best pulmonology hospital in Coimbatore.
Additionally, to get more health-related information and updates, you can read any article, refer to slideshows on MedicineNet or refer to specific apps like WebMD. The correction policy of each of these portals is extremely stringent and thus you get in-depth and error-free information.