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A bronchoscopy is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure that uses a probe to examine and treat the airways of a patient. It is usually performed by entering the airways through the mouth, but on occasion it is performed through the hole used for a tracheotomy. In addition to using a scope to examine the airways, the procedure can also be used to take a biopsy of tissue.
As a therapeutic procedure, it is most often used to remove foreign objects from the airways. A rigid scope is usually used for this procedure due to the greater ease of controlling it. For an investigative bronchoscopy, a flexible scope is usually preferred because it is longer and thinner, allowing greater penetration with less discomfort to the patient.