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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?

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