Bronchoscopy

Also known as: Endobronchial Ultrasound

In order to better evaluate conditions such as lung disease, chronic cough and lung cancer, your doctor will likely recommend a bronchoscopy or an endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS). 

These diagnostic procedures create highly detailed images and can help in assessing how lung conditions are affecting your body, allowing your doctor to determine next steps for your treatment and wellbeing. 

A bronchoscopy is a diagnostic exam used to evaluate the condition of your lungs. It is often used in addition to chest X-rays to further analyze and diagnose abnormalities found after a lung cancer screening or CT scan.

In order provide a more precise diagnosis, your doctor might upgrade your bronchoscopy to an endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS). With an EBUS, your doctor can more accurately determine the size and malignancy of tumors and cysts.

Similar to an upper endoscopy procedure, EBUS uses an endoscope (a thin and responsive tube with a tiny camera on the end) to view the condition of your lungs. EBUS has the added benefit of an ultrasound transducer within the endoscope. The transducer allows your doctor to use soundwaves to view your lungs in more detail. 

During your bronchoscopy, medications are administered through an IV and anesthetic spray is applied to your nose and throat. This helps to provide numbness and comfort during the procedure. 

In order to image your lungs, an endoscope is inserted into your body via your nose. Through a monitor, your doctor inspects and records the various regions of your lungs. 

If you are receiving an endobronchial ultrasound, the ultrasound transducer within the endoscope emits high-frequency sound waves to different parts of your chest and abdomen. Those sound waves are rendered on screen to help image the internal workings of your lungs.

Should your doctor notice any abnormality within your lungs, they may also use the endoscope to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) for further analysis.

The procedure is generally painless and lasts about 30 minutes. In order to have an accurate and complication-free procedure, it’s important to not eat any solid foods at least six hours prior to your exam.

Bronchoscopies and endobronchial ultrasounds are safe diagnostic procedures. Despite the unlikelihood of a complication occurring, the procedure does carry certain risks. These risks include nausea, bleeding, soreness of the throat and difficulty breathing after the procedure, as well as drowsiness from the sedative medications. 

Though rare, there is a slight risk of lung collapse during the procedure. Because of new and advanced fiber-optic endoscopes, however, a lung collapse is highly unlikely. When you partner with Providence St. Joseph Health for your exam, you can rest easy knowing your team of pulmonologists have the skill and experience necessary to reduce the risk of complication.