Bronchoscopy is an exam of the airways and lungs. The exam is done with a bronchoscope, a long, thin tube with a camera on the tip. The tube may be flexible or rigid.
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The procedure is done to:
Bronchoscopy may also be done to:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The care team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
General anesthesia may be used for a rigid bronchoscopy. You will be asleep.
The bronchoscope will be put into the nose or mouth. It will be passed down the throat and into the lungs.
Images will be seen on a nearby monitor. The scope may be used to remove a small tissue sample for biopsy. Things that should not be in the lung, like inhaled food, will also be removed. Sometimes a solution is used to wash an area. This is called a lavage. It will help to collect samples of fluid for testing.
Less than 1 hour
Throat pain is common in the first few days. Medicine can and home care can help.
Most can go home after a few hours. It will take the rest of the day to recover.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Lung Association
American Thoracic Society
Bronchoscopy. Merck Manual website, Professional Edition. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/diagnostic-and-therapeutic-pulmonary-procedures/bronchoscopy. Accessed February 16, 2021.
Diaz-Mendoza J, Peralta AR, et al. Rigid bronchoscopy. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2018;39(6):674-684.
Explore bronchoscopy. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bron. Updated Accessed February 16, 2021.
Flexible Airway Endoscopy in Children. American Thoracic Society website. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/statements/resources/pldd/pediatric-bronch-ts.pdf. Accessed February 16, 2021.
Lung cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/lung-cancer-screening Accessed February 16, 2021.
Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC Last Updated: 6/3/2021