A bronchoscopy allows your doctor to look inside the airways that carry air from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs. A thin, flexible tube (a bronchoscope) with a camera at the end is inserted into the patient's nose or mouth and passed down the throat to the airways to reach the lungs.
Preparing for the procedure
You should inform your doctor about all of the medications you are taking, as well as information about persistent bleeding problems and any allergies to latex or medications. Typically, patients should fast at least six to 12 hours before the procedure. Your doctor will let you know when they would like you to begin fasting.
During the procedure
You will receive medicine either intravenously or by mouth for relaxation purposes before the procedure starts. Next, a liquid spray or numbing gel is used to numb the throat or nose to prevent gagging, coughing and discomfort. Once the numbing takes effect, the tube is inserted into the lungs. Your doctor may take tissue samples during the test. A bronchoscopy typically lasts 30 minutes, not including preparation and recovery. You should arrange for transportation from the hospital due to drowsiness caused by the medicine administered before the procedure. Some patients may need to stay overnight in the hospital.