Bronchoscopy w/ biopsy: what is it?

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Bronchoscopy with biopsy involves inserting a tube into a patient’s bronchi to examine any injuries or signs of disease. If suspicious tissue is found, a cutting device is used to take a biopsy. The patient is conscious and discomfort is minimal. Biopsy results help determine if an area is cancerous and its severity.

There are two main components of a bronchoscopy with biopsy. The first is bronchoscopy, which is a simple procedure in which a doctor inserts a thin tube into a patient’s bronchi so that he or she can see any injuries or signs of disease. If the doctor cuts through a section of suspicious tissue, a thin cutting device can be inserted through the bronchoscopy tube to cut a piece of tissue for biopsy. Bronchoscopy with biopsy causes minimal discomfort to the patient while providing valuable information for the patient’s medical team.

A doctor will rarely know if he intends to perform a bronchoscopy with biopsy before making a visual assessment of the inside of a patient’s lungs. Suspicious areas that show up on X-rays or other noninvasive scans may indicate that a biopsy may be needed, but a doctor usually decides to cut out a small section of the patient’s lung only after examining the area with a bronchoscope. If an area looks cancerous, the doctor will take a small piece of the patient’s tissue to be analyzed in the laboratory. Analysis of the biopsied tissue sample will provide the patient’s medical team with information about whether or not the area is cancerous and how advanced the cancer may be.

In most cases, the patient is conscious for bronchoscopy, although many people are given medications to help them relax. The area around the nose or throat is numb with a local anesthetic and the doctor inserts the bronchoscope into the patient’s airways. Inserting the bronchoscope through your nose allows your doctor to take a look at your upper airway, while using it through your mouth allows you to use a larger tube and, therefore, larger instruments. The end of the bronchoscope is equipped with a small light and a camera, which allows the doctor to see into the patient’s lung.

To perform a bronchoscopy with biopsy, the doctor inserts the biopsy tools into the patient’s lungs through the bronchoscope. This way, your doctor can obtain a piece of tissue for biopsy immediately after seeing a suspicious area, without having to do another procedure. After a bronchoscopy with biopsy, the patient may have a sore throat and minimal discomfort that should resolve within a few days.

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