Skip to content

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Bronchoscopy

How It Is Done continued...

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.

How It Feels

If you have general anesthesia, you will feel nothing during the procedure. Oxygen is usually given through a small tube placed in your nose if you are awake during the procedure.

You may be able to feel pressure in your airway as the bronchoscope is moved from place to place. You may gag or cough during bronchoscopy. Your airway will not be blocked, but if you feel discomfort let your doctor know.

After the procedure, you may feel tired for a day or so and have general muscle aches. If a local anesthetic is used, you may have a bitter taste in your mouth. Your mouth may feel very dry for several hours after the procedure. You may also have a sore throat and some hoarseness for a few days. Sucking on throat lozenges or gargling with warm salt water may help soothe your sore throat.

The anesthesia will make it hard to swallow. You will need to avoid eating or drinking for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure.

If a biopsy sample was taken, it is normal to spit up a small amount of blood after the procedure.

Risks

Bronchoscopy is generally a safe procedure. Although complications are rare, your doctor will discuss any risks with you. Complications that may occur include:

  • Spasms of the bronchial tubes, which can impair breathing.
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
  • Infections, such as pneumonia. These can usually can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Ongoing hoarseness.

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.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
You may not even know you have it.
blood clot
Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
 
man coughing
When a cold becomes bronchitis.
human lungs
Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.
 

Bronchitis Overview
SLIDESHOW
Copd Myth Fact Quiz
QUIZ
 
Living With Copd
VIDEO
Energy Boosting Foods
SLIDESHOW
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cigarette butts snuffed out in ashtray
SLIDESHOW
Healthy Home Health Check
TOOL
 
Senior woman stretching
Article
Diagnosing Copd
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections