What Is a bronchoscopy?

A bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee) is a procedure used to look inside the lungs' airways, called the bronchi and bronchioles. The airways carry air from the trachea (TRA-ke-ah), or windpipe, to the lungs.

What is the procedure?

A doctor passes a thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope through your nose (or sometimes your mouth), down your throat, and into your airways. If you have a breathing tube, the bronchoscope can be passed through the tube to your airways.

The bronchoscope has a light and small camera that allows your doctor to see your windpipe and airways and take pictures.

Will I be awake during a bronchoscopy?

You’ll be given medication to make you feel relaxed and sleepy during the procedure.  In most cases, patients are drowsy but awake. Many patients don't even remember the procedure.  The doctor may start an IV to give you medicine to relax you further.  The doctors at Chest Medicine Associates will do everything possible to minimize discomfort.

Why is the doctor performing this procedure?

A bronchoscopy is done to find the cause of a lung problem. Your doctor may take samples of mucus or tissue from your lungs during the procedure to test in a lab.  A bronchoscopy may show a tumor, signs of an infection, excess mucus in the airways, the site of bleeding, or something blocking the airway, like a piece of food.  Sometimes bronchoscopy is used to treat lung problems. It may be done to insert a stent in an airway. An airway stent is a small tube that holds the airway open. It's used when a tumor or other condition blocks an airway.

What happens after the bronchoscopy?

Since you will be drowsy, you will be allowed to awaken before being released.  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE SOMEONE WITH YOU TO DRIVE YOU HOME. You should be able to resume normal activities by the next day.

When will I find out the results?

It usually takes 2-3 days for the laboratory to have the results back to the doctor.  Once the doctor receives the results, you will be contacted by the doctor or the staff at Chest Medicine Associates.  If there is any need for follow up testing you will be notified at that time.

Special instructions before the test?

Do not eat or drink 8 hours before the procedure.  You may have small amounts of water to take your medications.  You will need to report to Out Patients Admissions an hour before the procedure unless otherwise instructed.