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An instrument used to look inside the lung's airways, which are known as a bronchus/bronchi or bronchiole, depending on the size of the airway. Most bronchoscopes consist of a flexible tube that is divided into three channels: the first channel has a fiberoptic channel that delivers light to the end of the scope; the second channel has an optic system that allows the physician to view inside the lungs; the third channel allows the physician to sample tissue, with biopsy tools or aspirate fluid from the different parts of the lungs. A bronchoscope is used to look inside the lungs to look for cancers, benign tumors, or infections, or to clear excessive fluids or mucous that may be blocking an airway. An alternative to the flexible bronchoscope, a rigid bronchoscope is a metal tube with the same components as the flexible bronchoscope, except the viewing channel is simply the opening in the metal tube. In general, most bronchoscopic exams are done using a flexible bronchoscope, with the patient under mild sedation.

Related info: Bronchoscopy

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