Bronchoscopy is the visual examination of the air passages leading into the lungs. The exam is done with a bronchoscope, a long, thin tube with a camera on the tip.
Bronchoscopy is most often done for the following reasons:
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a bronchoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor may do some or all of the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
Leading up to your procedure:
Local anesthetic will be given to numb the throat. It will also help to prevent coughing and gagging. Sometimes, a bronchoscopy is done under general anesthesia. In this case, you will be asleep.
The bronchoscope is a long, thin tube. It will be inserted through the nose or mouth. The scope will be passed down the throat and into the lungs.
The scope sends an image of the lung tissue to a TV monitor. The doctor may use the images and the scope to remove a small tissue sample. If a foreign body is present, the doctor may be able to remove it through the scope. If a lavage is planned, a water solution may be used to wash an area. The solution is then removed and sent to a lab for examination.
The removed tissue or secretions will be sent to a lab for examination.
Less than 1 hour
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may feel a tugging sensation when the doctor removes a tissue sample. Expect some soreness in your throat and hoarseness for a few days after the procedure.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
The doctor will usually give you a report after the sedative wears off and you are alert. It may take a couple of days to receive results from a biopsy. It may take up to six weeks for findings from a tuberculosis test. Ask your doctor when to expect your results.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Lung Association
American Thoracic Society
Canadian Lung Association
American College of Chest Physicians website. Available at:
http://www.chestnet.org/. Accessed October 14, 2005.
American Thoracic Society website. Available at:
http://www.thoracic.org. Accessed October 14, 2005.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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