Bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a quick method of checking your lungs

If you have been having trouble breathing or had shortness of breath, your doctor may suggest for you to have a bronchoscopy.

What is a broncoscopy?

An impacted lower wisdom tooth

A bronchoscopy is a procedure to look for any problems inside your airways (bronchi) using a flexible telescope.

What are the benefits of a bronchoscopy?

A bronchoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem.

Are there any alternatives to a bronchoscopy?

A chest x-ray, scan or biopsy (removing small pieces of tissue) may give information about the cause of the problem but a bronchoscopy often leads to a diagnosis.

What does the procedure involve?

If appropriate, your doctor may offer you a sedative to help you to relax. A bronchoscopy is a quick procedure, it usually takes less than 15 minutes. Your doctor will pass a flexible telescope (bronchoscope) through your nostrils and down into your lungs. Your doctor will then use the bronchoscope to examine your airways. To help make the diagnosis, your doctor can perform biopsies and they may place a small amount of fluid in your lungs and then remove it.

What complications can happen?

Like all procedures, there can be some complications can be serious and can even cause death, which is why it’s best to discuss these with your doctor prior the procedure.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Bleeding
  • Developing a high temperature
  • Developing a sore throat, husky voice or a cough getting worse
  • Allergic reaction

How soon will I recover?

It will depend on whether you were given a sedative. If it is the case that you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about 2 hours, but this depends on how much sedative you were given. Fortunately, you should be able to return to work the next day unless you are told otherwise.

Afterwards, the healthcare team will tell you what was found during the bronchoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you may need. Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

A simple bronchoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem in your airways. This type of procedure can benefit you in the long run.

Acknowledgements

Author: Dr David Baldwin MD FRCP

Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

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