More Details on How Pulmonary Fibrosis Is Recognized

Bronchoscopy
A bronchoscopy is used to look inside the lungs. With this test, the healthcare provider inserts a flexible, rubber tube with a tiny light and camera on the end of it through the nose or mouth and into the lungs. He or she can also insert forceps through the tube to collect lung tissue. This is known as a biopsy. Looking at samples of tissue from several places in the lungs under a microscope is the best way for a healthcare provider to diagnose pulmonary fibrosis. It can also show the healthcare provider how far your condition has advanced.
 
During a bronchoscopy, the healthcare provider may also inject a small amount of salt water (saline) through the bronchoscope into your lungs. This fluid washes the lungs and helps to bring up cells from the area around the air sacs for examination under a microscope. This is known as bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
 
Lung Biopsy
Besides a bronchoscopy, there are several other ways that a healthcare provider can get a sample of lung tissue. This includes a video-assisted thoracoscopy or thoracotomy.
 
Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy
This is the procedure that healthcare providers use most to obtain lung tissue. A healthcare provider inserts a small, lighted tube with a camera (endoscope) into your chest through small incisions between your ribs. The endoscope provides a video image of the lungs and allows your healthcare provider to collect samples of tissue. This procedure must be done in the hospital, under general anesthesia.
 
Thoracotomy
During a thoracotomy, a healthcare provider removes a few small pieces of lung tissue through a small cut in the chest wall between the ribs. A thoracotomy is also done in the hospital under general anesthesia.
 

Pulmonary Fibrosis Information

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