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Flexible Bronchoscopy


Flexible bronchoscopy is a noninvasive test doctors use to view a child's airways. The procedure can diagnose or even treat certain lung and bronchial conditions.

At Children's Medical Center, we follow a patient-centered model of treatment. By putting the patient first, we bring together all the hospital's resources to meet a child's needs. Critical care physicians work with nurses, respiratory care therapists and others to ensure the best and most innovative treatment is available for each child at a moment's notice.

Pediatric flexible bronchoscopy

Pediatric flexible bronchoscopy employs a long, lighted tube known as a flexible bronchoscope to see inside a child's airways.

An anesthesiologist will sedate the child before the procedure, which takes about 15 minutes or so. The physician will give the patient medicine to numb her nose or throat. The doctor inserts the bronchoscope through the child's nose or down a special tube in the throat.

Complications are rare, although some children may be congested or develop a fever following the procedure.

Conditions diagnosed and treated using flexible bronchoscopy

Common diagnostic uses for flexible bronchoscopy include

  • Blocked airway (foreign object)
  • Growths on the lung
  • Changes in chest X-rays
  • Certain lung and respiratory infections
  • Children's interstitial lung disease (ChILD)
  • Pediatric hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Chronic cough (more than three months with no explanation) or wheezing
  • Inhaled toxic substances (such as gases or chemicals)
  • Obtain tissue and/or fluid samples

Bronchoscopy can also be used to treat certain lung and airway problems, such as

  • Removing a foreign object from a child's airways
  • Removing fluid or mucus plugs from the airways
  • Dilating a narrowed or blocked airway
  • Draining an abscess
  • Washing an airway (therapeutic lavage)
  • Treating certain cancers

To provide support for patients with acute life-threatening conditions, Children's has 83 intensive care beds. Children's Pediatric ICU also conducts leading-edge research and brings new therapies to patients — often years before they are available at other institutions. Our critical care physicians deliver a full range of intensive care services for infants and children, including flexible bronchoscopy.

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