During the procedure, a thin, tube-like instrument called a bronchoscope is inserted through your nose or mouth, and run down into your lung's airways. The tube has a tiny camera at its tip, which carries images back to a video screen.
While the procedure will take no more than 20 minutes, set up and post procedure observation take about 2 hours. In some instances, patients are requested to remain in the Department for observation, or in rare cases are admitted to the hospital overnight.
Before beginning the procedure, you will be given a medication like Novocain, which numbs your nose and throat area, and helps to prevent a need to cough or gag during the procedure. You will also be given a sedative through an IV line, which will help you relax and possibly make you feel sleepy. You may have no memory of the test after it is preformed.
Why Have a Bronchoscopy?
Your pulmonologist will use bronchoscopy to determine and assess the causes of a lung problem. Bronchoscopy is frequently used when patients have:
- Lung Infections
- Lung Spot (an abnormal finding in an X-ray film or CT scan)
- Ongoing Lung Collapse
- Excess Mucus
- Noisy Breathing/ Airway Narrowing
- An Airway Blockage (ex. a piece of food)
How Do I Prepare?
Patients are required to eat and drink nothing after midnight the night before their procedure. If you take insulin or regular essential oral medications, your pulmonologist will give you special instructions to follow, which ensure your health and the best results of the bronchoscopy.
If you are allergic to any sedatives or other medications, please notify your doctor before the procedure takes place.
Since you are given sedation, you must be driven home following your procedure; please arrange for a ride. You also cannot eat or drink anything until the numbness in your throat wears off, which usually takes one to two hours.
What Are the Risks?
A bronchoscopy is a safe and painless procedure. For the first few days following your procedure, you may experience a sore throat, cough, muscle aches or hoarseness.
More serious side effects are uncommon.
However, if you experience chest pains, develop a fever, have difficulty breathing, or cough up more than a few tablespoons of blood, contact your pulmonologist immediately.
After Your Bronchoscopy
Following your procedure, your pulmonologist will be able to tell you how your airways look right away. Lab results will take longer: usually one to four days are necessary, though the time varies depending on the type of test.
We look forward to your visit! If you have any other questions, feel free to call our office at +1.2037593666, or check out the informational links we have posted below.
More Information on Bronchoscopy
A detailed overview describing what a bronchoscopy is and what to expect from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
An informational pamphlet by the American Thoracic Society, describing fiberoptic bronchoscopy, reasons it is used, and risks.