Bronchoscopy is a procedure that lets doctors look at your lungs and air passages. It's usually performed by a doctor who specializes in lung disorders (a pulmonologist). During bronchoscopy, a thin tube (bronchoscope) is passed through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your lungs.

Bronchoscopy is most commonly performed using a flexible bronchoscope. However, in certain situations, such as if there's a lot of bleeding in your lungs or a large object is stuck in your airway, a rigid bronchoscope may be needed.

Common reasons for needing bronchoscopy are persistent cough, infection and something unusual seen on a chest X-ray or other test.

Bronchoscopy can also be used to obtain samples of mucus or tissue, or to remove foreign bodies or other blockages from the airways or lungs.

Mayo Clinic's approach