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.
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.
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
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.
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
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Infections, such as
pneumonia. These can usually can be treated with
- Ongoing hoarseness.
If a biopsy was done during bronchoscopy, complications
that may occur include:
- A tear in the lung from the biopsy forceps used
to collect a tissue sample. This will allow air to flow into the pleural space,
producing a partial collapse of the lung (pneumothorax).
- Bleeding caused by the
biopsy forceps used to collect the tissue.
- An infection from the
- A very small chance of death.
After the procedure
Call your doctor immediately
- Cough up more than
2 Tbsp (30 mL) of
- Have trouble breathing.
- Have a fever for more
than 24 hours. A mild fever [lower than
100°F (38°C)] may be present
right after the procedure, but this is not a concern.
Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows
your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing instrument called a
bronchoscope. Your doctor may discuss your results with you soon after the
procedure. Test results on any biopsy samples are usually available in 2 to 4
The large airway leading to the lungs and
the breathing tubes in the lungs appear normal. There are no objects, thick
secretions, or growths.
An object, thick secretions, or growths are
blocking your airway.
Tissue sample shows a lung infection or
disease, such as