Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx, trachea, and lower airways.
Bronchoscopy may be done to diagnose problems with the airway, the lungs, or with the lymph nodes in the chest, or to treat problems such as an object or growth in the airway.
There are two types of bronchoscopy.
Flexible bronchoscopy uses a long, thin, lighted tube to look at your airway. The flexible bronchoscope is used more often than the rigid bronchoscope because it usually does not require general anesthesia, is more comfortable for the person, and offers a better view of the smaller airways. It also allows the doctor to remove small samples of tissue (biopsy).
Rigid bronchoscopy is usually done with general anesthesia and uses a straight, hollow metal tube. It is used:
When there is bleeding in the airway that could block the flexible scope’s view.
To remove large tissue samples for biopsy.
To clear the airway of objects (such as a piece of food) that cannot be removed using a flexible bronchoscope.
Special procedures, such as widening (dilating) the airway or destroying a growth using a laser, are usually done with a rigid bronchoscope.
Why It Is Done
Bronchoscopy may be used to:
- Find the cause of airway problems, such as bleeding, trouble breathing, or a long-term (chronic) cough.
Take tissue samples when other tests, such as a chest X-ray or CT scan, show problems with the lung or with lymph nodes in the chest.
Diagnose lung diseases by collecting tissue or mucus (sputum) samples for examination.
Diagnose and determine the extent of lung cancer.
Remove objects blocking the airway.
Check and treat growths in the airway camera.gif.
Treat areas of the airway that have narrowed and are causing problems.
Treat cancer of the airway using radioactive materials (brachytherapy)
An esophagoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the inside of your esophagus using a long thin instrument called an endoscope. The endoscope contains a light and a camera that transmits pictures of the inside of your esophagus to a video screen. Esophagoscopy can help diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the esophagus, such as esophageal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, and objects stuck in the esophagus.
The esophagus is a muscular tube located in the upper gastrointestinal tract that connects your mouth to your stomach. An esophagoscopy can help your doctor diagnose unexplained symptoms you may be having, such as difficulty swallowing, upper abdominal pain, vomiting blood, or regurgitation. An esophagoscopy can also show certain structures of the throat and larynx (voice box).
Esophagoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can often be performed in an outpatient setting. The procedure does not require an incision and generally has a quick recovery and a very low risk of complications.
Esophagoscopy is only one method used to treat and diagnose conditions of the esophagus. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about all of your options to understand which option is best for you.
Types of esophagoscopy
The types of esophagoscopy include:
Flexible esophagoscopy is performed by inserting a thin, flexible endoscope through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus.
Transnasal flexible esophagoscopy is performed by inserting a thin, flexible endoscope through the nose and down the throat into esophagus.
Rigid esophagoscopy is performed by inserting a rigid endoscope through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus.
Other procedures that may be performed
Your doctor may recommend one or more additional procedures during your esophagoscopy to diagnose or treat certain conditions.
Why is an esophagoscopy performed?
Your doctor may recommend an esophagoscopy to diagnose and possibly treat a variety of diseases and conditions of the esophagus, and sometimes the throat and larynx (voice box). These include:
- Acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hiatal hernia, laryngopharyngeal reflux, or heartburn
- Barrett’s esophagus, which is damage to the esophagus caused by stomach acid
- Cancer, tumor, or mass of neck, throat, airway, or esophagus
- Chronic cough or hoarseness due to such conditions as acid reflux or GERD
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), painful swallowing (odynophagia) and esophageal motility disorders, such as hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter, or difficulty feeding and regurgitation in infants
- Esophageal varices, which are swollen veins in the esophagus that can bleed
- Foreign body evaluation and removal
- Globus sensation, which is a feeling of a lump in the throat
- Narrowing or compression of the esophagus due to such conditions as scar tissue or a muscle disorder
- Trauma to the esophagus, such as a tear or injury from violent and repeated coughing or vomiting
- Vomiting blood from such conditions as a bleeding ulcer in the upper gastrointestinal tract or veins in the esophagus