Let’s say that you’ve been coughing or experiencing discomfort in your chest, but the cause remains a mystery. Your doctor might order a test called a bronchoscopy. This allows visual examination of your throat, airways and lungs for signs of blockages or disease.
In this routine test, a physician slips a flexible device called a bronchoscope through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your lungs. At its tip, the bronchoscope is equipped with a light and camera. The bronchoscope has been used by doctors for decades, but our physicians increasingly combine it with other imaging technology to gather more accurate information. “These additional tools can act like a GPS system to help us find a growth in the lungs, for example,” says Yale Medicine pulmonologist Jonathan Puchalski, MD.