Bronchoscopy can help find the cause of a lung problem. For example, during the procedure, your doctor may see:

  • A tumor
  • Signs of infection
  • Excess mucus in the airways
  • The site of bleeding
  • A blockage (such as a piece of food) in your airway

Your doctor also may take samples of mucus or tissue from your lungs to test in a laboratory.

Sometimes doctors use bronchoscopy to treat lung problems. For example, the procedure might be done to insert a stent in an airway. An airway stent is a small tube that holds the airway open. It might be used if a tumor or other condition blocks the airway.

In children, bronchoscopy most often is used to remove an object blocking an airway. Sometimes it’s used to find out what’s causing a cough that has lasted for at least a few weeks.

Researchers are studying new types of flexible bronchoscopy. They might make it easier to detect tumors and other lung problems, especially in the lungs’ small airways. These procedures also might make it easier to take fluid and tissue samples from your lungs.