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Bronchoscopy

How It Is Done continued...

An X-ray machine (fluoroscope) may be placed above you to provide a picture that helps your doctor see any devices, such as forceps to collect a biopsy sample, that are being moved into your lung. The bronchoscope is then moved down your larger breathing tubes (bronchi) to examine the lower airways.

If your doctor collects sputum or tissue samples for biopsy, a tiny biopsy tool or brush will be used through the scope. A salt (saline) fluid may be used to wash your airway, then the samples are collected and sent to the lab to be studied.

Finally, small biopsy forceps may be used to remove a sample of lung tissue. This is called a transbronchial biopsy.

Rigid bronchoscopy

This procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia. You will lie on your back on a table with your shoulders and neck supported by a pillow.

You will be given a sedative to help you relax. You will have an intravenous line (IV) placed in a vein. Once you are asleep, your head will be carefully positioned with your neck extended. A tube (endotracheal) will be placed in your windpipe (trachea) and a machine will help you breathe. Your doctor then slowly and gently inserts the bronchoscope through your mouth and into your windpipe.

If your doctor collects sputum or tissue samples for biopsy, a tiny biopsy tool or a brush will be inserted through the scope. A salt (saline) fluid may be used to wash your airway, then the samples are collected and sent to the lab for biopsy.

Recovery after bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy by either procedure usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes. You will be in recovery for 1 to 3 hours after the procedure. Following the procedure:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 1 to 2 hours, until you are able to swallow without choking. After that, you may resume your normal diet, starting with sips of water.
  • Spit out your saliva until you are able to swallow without choking.
  • Do not drive for at least 8 hours after the procedure.
  • Do not smoke for at least 24 hours.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 24, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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