Bronchoscopy allows examination of your airways for any abnormality such as bleeding, inflammation, foreign bodies, or tumours by a bronchoscopist. A thin tube known as a bronchoscope is used. A rigid bronchoscope is a straight, hollow metal tube. Rigid bronchoscopy is less common today, but it is preferred for removing foreign material and for several other treatments. A flexible fibre-optic bronchoscope is a long, thin tube that bends easily and transmits images for viewing. Bronchoscopy has become an increasingly important tool for the management of chest diseases. Usually, you will have a chest X-ray prior to the procedure and will be required to fast for at least six hours beforehand. You are usually given anti-anxiety and anti-secretory medications (to dry your mouth and membranes) before the procedure. During the procedure, you may be sedated, although you remain conscious. A local anaesthetic may be used to numb your upper airways. The flexible bronchoscope is passed through either your nose or mouth. You can be either sitting or lying down.
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