Objective: To determine the success rate of flexible bronchoscopy as the first-choice method of removing foreign bodies from the airways of adults. Methods: This was a retrospective study of all adult patients (over 18 years of age) with foreign body aspiration submitted to bronchoscopy between January of 2009 and January of 2011 at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine Hospital das Clinicas, located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Results: The study sample comprised 40 adult patients, with a mean age of 52 years (range, 18-88 years). The median time of permanence of the foreign body in the airway was 15 days (range, 12 h to 10 years). All of the patients first underwent diagnostic flexible bronchoscopy. Foreign bodies were successfully removed with flexible bronchoscopy in 33 (82.5%) of the patients. In 1 patient, a metal object lodged in the distal bronchial tree required the use of fluoroscopy. Six patients (15%) required rigid bronchoscopy due to tracheal foreign body-induced dyspnea, in 2, and because the foreign body was too large for the flexible forceps, in 4. Bronchoscopy failed in 1 patient, who therefore required surgical bronchotomy. Conclusions: Although rigid bronchoscopy is considered the gold standard for the removal of foreign bodies from the airways, our experience showed that flexible bronchoscopy can be safely and effectively used in the diagnosis and treatment of stable adult patients.