What is a bronchoscope?

A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to examine the inside of the trachea, bronchi (air passages that lead to the lungs), and lungs. A bronchoscope has a light and a lens for viewing, and may have a tool to remove tissue.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.


Michael T. Czarnecki, MD
Pulmonary Disease
A bronchoscope is a tool to help diagnose lung diseases. The bronchoscope has some special advanced equipment on the tip, including a light, a camera and a channel that allows doctors to pass special instrumentation through to help figure out and diagnose what the lung condition could be. It allows doctors to take some pieces of tissue with calipers, or even take a needle and place the needle inside the area of concern to collect tissue.

This tissue can be analyzed and identified by pathologists. Then doctors can design a treatment plan to fit the disease -- possibly antibiotics for a minor infection or an aggressive combination of techniques, if it's more serious, like a lung cancer.

This is a procedure that has minimal risks that are far outweighed by its benefits.

Continue Learning about Diagnostic Procedures

Scoping Out Endoscopes
Scoping Out Endoscopes
When James Garner starred as Lt. Kenneth Braden in Up Periscope (1959), the submarine commander knew infiltrating Japanese waters to retrieve secret r...
Read More
Know Before You Go: Radiation
Know Before You Go: Radiation
When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you may feel like you’re all alone—but you’re not. You’ll have a team of healthcare providers (HCPs) dedicated...
Read More
Is intravenous (IV) contrast material safe?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
Generally, an intravenous (IV) contrast material is extremely safe. But as with any medication, ...
More Answers
How do bone-conduction and pure-tone tests help diagnose hearing loss?
David M. Vernick, MDDavid M. Vernick, MD
The result of the bone-conduction test compared with the result of the pure-tone test indicates whet...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.