Operative endoscopy of the airway
irway endoscopy has long been an important and useful tool in the management of thoracic diseases. As thoracic specialists have gained experience with both flexible and rigid bronchoscopic techniques, the technology has continued to evolve so that bronchoscopy is currently the foundation for diagnosis and treatment of many thoracic ailments. Airway endoscopy plays a significant role in the biopsy of tumors within the airways, mediastinum, and lung parenchyma. Endoscopic methods have been developed to treat benign and malignant airway stenoses and tracheomalacia. And more recently, techniques have been conceived to treat end-stage emphysema and prolonged air leaks in select patients. This review describes the abundant uses of airway endoscopy, as well as technical considerations and limitations of the current technologies.