Fibreoptic intubation

Can J Anaesth. 1994 Oct;41(10):996-1007; discussion 1007-8. doi: 10.1007/BF03010944.


Although not widely utilized, fibreoptic techniques represent a dramatic advance in the management of the difficult intubation. Particularly suited to the awake patient in the elective setting, fibreoptic intubation can also be useful in selected emergency situations, and can be done under general anaesthesia. In the awake patient fibreoptic intubation maintains a wide margin of safety while producing minimal patient discomfort, but requires adequate local anaesthesia of the airway. Intimate familiarity with the bronchoscope and the anatomy of the upper airway is essential as is careful attention to various aspects of technique. Intubation mannequins can be readily utilized to develop dexterity in bronchoscopic manipulation and intubation workshops are also effective in improving skills. This CME article provides the clinician with a detailed approach to the technique of fibreoptic intubation based on the author's personal experience supplemented by a limited literature review. Fibreoptic intubation is not a difficult skill to master and should be in the armamentarium of all practising anaesthetists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Emergencies
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Safety
  • Wakefulness