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Advances in technology have made it easier to view the most intricate airways of the lung, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment for a variety of lung diseases and conditions. Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows for an inside multidimensional view of your lungs. A narrow lighted tube (bronchoscope) goes through the mouth, down the throat and windpipe (trachea) to the lungs. Depending on the type of bronchoscope (rigid or flexible) used, your physician can either examine your airways through the tube itself or via a bronchoscope outfitted with a miniaturized camera that displays an interior view of your lungs on a video monitor in real time.

Diagnostic Benefits

NorthShore’s highly skilled thoracic specialists have extensive experience performing both minimally-invasive diagnostic and interventional broncoscopic procedures. We use the latest innovations in bronchoscopy such as the new super Dimension™ Navigation System—available only at select medical centers. A sophisticated electromagnetic navigation tool, it features an advanced GPS system for reaching outer regions of the lung that typically can’t be explored with traditional bronchoscopy. Creating a road map of your lungs, this leading-edge technology zeroes in on abnormal growths and provides finer direction for needle and surgical biopsies of lung tissue to accurately diagnose benign and malignant lesions.

At NorthShore we also offer endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), a diagnostic method used in combination with bronchoscopy. Our specially trained surgeons use EBUS to identify lung spots or nodules that may reside just outside the airways. Usually bronchoscopy alone cannot provide a view of these lesions.

Treatment Options

Whether benign or cancerous, nodules can obstruct and narrow your airways and make it difficult to breathe. Our NorthShore thoracic surgeons employ a number of minimally invasive techniques to remove lesions and polyps and expand the airways using bronchoscopy, including:

  • Laser therapy to shrink or destroy tumors using high-intensity light

  • Cryoablation to freeze the abnormal tissue and kill potentially pre-cancerous growths

  • Dilations using balloon catheters and/or stents to open up narrowed airways

Bronchoscopy is also useful for removing secretions, mucus plugs and other blockages, and stopping bleeding in the airways.

What to Expect

Bronchoscopy is a same day procedure. Typically it is performed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. The back of your throat will be sprayed with a numbing agent for your comfort and to prevent gagging as the bronchoscope is positioned in your airway.

After your discharge from the hospital, you will want to make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

For More Information

To schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons, please call 847.570.2868.