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What happens during a bronchoscopy?

Your consultant will spray local anaesthetic on the inside of your nose and the back of your throat meaning these areas will be numb throughout the procedure. They may offer you a sedative to help you relax. A bronchoscopy usually takes less than fifteen minutes.

Your consultant will pass a flexible bronchoscope through your nose guiding it down the back of your throat and into your lungs. They will use the bronchoscope to examine your airways. Most bronchoscopes are connected to a monitor so your consultant can better view images of your airways

To help make the diagnosis, your consultant can perform biopsies and they may place a small amount of fluid in your lungs and then remove it.

When your consultant is finished with the examination they will gently pull the bronchoscope out.  

After your bronchoscopy

If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about two hours. A member of our Healthcare Team will tell you what was found during the bronchoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need. You should be able to go back to work the day after your bronchoscopy. 

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following bronchoscopy.

Specific complications of bronchoscopy:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Bleeding
  • Developing a high temperature
  • Developing a sore throat, husky voice or worsening of a cough
  • Allergic reaction

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your consultant?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this test

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
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4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
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2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

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