Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx , trachea , and lower airways.
Bronchoscopy may be done to diagnose problems with the airway or to treat problems such as an object or growth in the airway.
Why It Is Done
Bronchoscopy may be used to:
How It Is Done
You may be given some medicines before the procedure to dry up the secretions in your mouth and airways.
You may be asked to remove dentures, eyeglasses or contact lenses, hearing aids, wigs, makeup, and jewelry before the bronchoscopy procedure. You will empty your bladder before the procedure. You will need to take off all or most of your clothes (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the procedure). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the procedure.
The procedure is done by a pulmonologist and an assistant. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level will be checked during the procedure.
A chest X-ray may be done before and after the bronchoscopy.
Recovery after bronchoscopy
Bronchoscopy by either procedure usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes. You will be in recovery for 2 to 3 hours after the procedure. Following the procedure:
How It Feels
If you have general anesthesia, you will feel nothing during the procedure. Oxygen is usually given through a small tube placed in your nose if you are awake during the procedure.
You may be able to feel pressure in your airway as the bronchoscope is moved from place to place. You may gag or cough during bronchoscopy. Your airway will not be blocked, but if you feel discomfort let your doctor know.
After the procedure, you may feel tired for a day or so and have general muscle aches. If a local anesthetic is used, you may have a bitter taste in your mouth. Your mouth may feel very dry for several hours after the procedure. You may also have a sore throat and some hoarseness for a few days. Sucking on throat lozenges or gargling with warm salt water may help soothe your sore throat.
If a biopsy was taken, it is normal to spit up a small amount of blood after the procedure.
Bronchoscopy is generally a safe procedure. Although complications are rare, your doctor will discuss any risks with you. Complications that may occur include:
If a biopsy was done during bronchoscopy, complications that may occur include:
After the procedure
Call your doctor immediately if you:
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About