A bronchoscopy is the visual examination of the air passages of the lungs. It is done with a tool called a bronchoscope. This tool is a long, thin tube with a camera at the tip. Special surgical tools can also be passed through the tube. The tools may take tissue samples or mark an area for treatment.

A CT scan is used to create images to map the airways. The images are downloaded into a computer which helps navigate the bronchoscope into the smaller airways of the lungs.

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A navigational bronchoscopy may be done to help diagnose or treat problems in small airways of the lungs. It is often done after an x-ray, MRI , or CT scan shows a suspicious spot. A navigational bronchoscopy may be done to:

  • Take a biopsy of lung tissue
  • Place markers for future treatment
  • Insert internal radiation therapy catheters into cancerous lung tissue

This procedure may prevent an open surgery, which has greater risks and longer recovery time. It can help provide early diagnosis of lung cancer.