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Pulmonary, or pulmonology medicine, is a subspeciality of internal medicine that is involved with diagnosing and treating disorders and diseases that affect the airways, breathing, or respiratory system. Pulmonologists are responsible for treating structures associated with the respiratory system. There are three major structures that make up your respiratory system: the airway, the lungs, and the respiratory muscles.

The airway includes your nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli, Your respiratory muscles include the diaphragm, intercostal muscles (inhalation), accessory muscles, and exhalation muscles. At Overlake Internal Medicine Associates, Dr. Scott Bonvallet is Board Certified in Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, and serves on the pulmonary/critical care call rotation.


computerized image of respiratory system


Did You Know?

The average person breathes 13 pints of air every minute. Besides breathing, however, your lungs are also responsible for eliminating up to 70 percent of waste and can exhale up to 17.5 milliliters of water per hour. Because they are important for so many essential functions, your lungs are the size of a tennis court if they were to be opened flat.



Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I candidate for Pulmonary services?

You may be a candidate for pulmonary services if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Occupational Lung Disease
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary embolism

Additionally, you may want to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Overlake Internal Medicine Associates if you have any of the following symptoms:

woman coughing and holding her chest

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Are regularly coughing up blood or mucus
  • Have unexplained weight loss
  • Can’t exercise due to breathing problems
  • Are a smoker



What Pulmonary services does Overlake Internal Medicine Associates offer?

Overlake Internal Medicine Associates offers a variety of pulmonary services, however our most common services are Laryngoscopy and Bronchoscopy.




A Laryngoscopy is a procedure where a physician inserts an instrument into the throat to examine the throat and vocal cords. It is used to obtain diagnostic information when you have labored or noisy breathing, pain or hoarseness in the throat, have difficulty swallowing, feel something in your throat, are coughing up blood, or feel a mass or lump in the neck area. Laryngoscopy is primarily used to diagnose upper respiratory issues.





A Bronchoscopy is a procedure where a physician inserts a thin, flexible tube, called a Bronchoscope, into your nose or mouth and down your throat to your airways. The Bronchoscope has a small camera attached to the end that will allow your physician to see your windpipe and airways. Bronchoscope is used to diagnose cases of bleeding, signs of infection, airway blockages, or excess mucus in the airways. During a Bronchoscopy, you will be sedated to maintain your comfort.





What can I expect when receiving Pulmonary services from Overlake Internal Medicine Associates?


When receiving Pulmonary services from Overlake Internal Medicine Associates, you can expect to first undergo an initial consultation where your symptoms and medical history will be discussed. At your initial appointment, it is important to be clear about all your symptoms and as detailed as possible about your medical history. Depending on your symptoms, Dr. Scott Bonvallet may request further diagnostic testing before making a diagnosis and treatment plan.


What should I expect when having a Laryngoscopy?

If you are having a laryngoscopy, there are different techniques that may be used. One is an indirect laryngoscopy. With an indirect laryngoscopy, Dr. Bonvallet will spray something to make your throat numb, then insert a long handle with a mirror at the end. He will use a light and the mirror to carefully look down your throat. This type of laryngoscopy is the simplest kind and takes only 5-10 minutes.

doctor performing a Laryngoscopy on a patient

Another type of laryngoscopy is the direct fiber-optic laryngoscopy, or flexible laryngoscopy. With this technique, Dr. Bonvallet will numb your nose and then insert a small cable with a telescope at the end. This cable will move up your nose and down your throat to obtain images. This procedure takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

The last approach, direct laryngoscopy, is the most involved method and will require you to be under general anesthesia. With a direct laryngoscopy, Dr. Bonvallet will use a laryngoscope to lift your epiglottis and access your windpipe. Once inside your windpipe, small growths can be removed or samples can be obtained for further testing. Because direct laryngoscopy is so involved, this procedure can take about 45 minutes to complete.


What should I expect when having a Bronchoscopy?

Before your bronchoscopy, you will need to avoid eating or drinking anything for about 6-12 hours. You may also need to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin, or other blood thinners. When having a bronchoscopy, Dr. Bonvallet will use a local anesthetic spray for your nose and throat. You will also be given a sedative to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

During a bronchoscopy, Dr. Bonvallet inserts the bronchoscope into your nose and down into your throat until it reaches the bronchi in your lungs. Once at the bronchi, tissue samples may be collected using tiny brushes or needles. Samples may also be obtained by spraying a saline solution over your airways to collect cells. If it is found that your airways are blocked, then a stent may be placed to keep them open.

Depending on the type of bronchoscopy you are having, three different imaging techniques may be used. A virtual bronchoscopy uses CT scans, an endobronchial ultrasound uses an ultrasound probe, and a fluorescence bronchoscopy uses a fluorescent light to see the internal lung tissue.


What types of changes will I need to make after consulting a Pulmonologist at Overlake Internal Medicine Associates?

Depending on your individual case and diagnosis, there may be certain changes you will need to make after visiting a pulmonologist at Overlake Internal Medicine Associates. Certain behaviors, such as smoking, exercise, or your eating habits may exasperate your condition and may need to be altered. If you are a smoker, you should quit immediately. Your diet and exercise regimen may also need to be changed to avoid irritating your condition. Additionally, you may be given medication to manage your symptoms. It is important to take all medication as directed for the best results.


If you are in need of top pulmonary or pulmonology services, schedule a consultation with Bellevue’s top internal medical doctors today at Overlake Internal Medicine Associates.