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It is a medical procedure which enables the doctors to take a look inside the airways of your lungs, together with the vocal cord, voice box and numerous branches of bronchi. The test is usually performed by a thoracic surgeon or pulmonologist. It is done to examine the lung disease where the doctor can take samples of your lung tissue for a laboratory test.
Bronchoscopy is of two types – a rigid bronchoscope and a flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope. Over the years, the flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope has successfully replaced the rigid bronchoscope because it is easier to perform.
• Coughing up blood
• Abnormal CT Scan or chest x-ray
• Swelling in the vocal chord
• Unexplained cough
Besides these, the bronchoscopy is also performed for bronchial lavage –
• To take away a small object, such as an inhaled peanut which is blocking the airway
• To remove an unnecessary growth of tissue in the airway
• To place a small tube (stent) to open an airway that has collapsed
• Your doctor may ask you to remain empty stomach several hours before the procedure to prevent certain risks, such as vomiting, etc.
• Inform your doctor what medicines you’re taking or if you’re allergic to latex or any medicine
• Also keep your doctor informed in case you’re coughing up blood
The procedure of bronchoscopy lasts for almost half an hour, but the patient’s recovery takes time. Your physician will give you the medicine so that you doze off during the test and then he/she will insert the bronchoscope through your mouth or nose and then passing through the vocal cords to your windpipe and into your airways. You may feel some pain, but your physician will spray the liquid medicine inside your nose and throat to numb the area.
The physician will now examine your airways and vocal cord through the bronchoscopy test.
• You will be allowed to eat or drink once the insensitivity in your throat wears off, which will take 1-2 hours.
• You’ll need someone to drive you home.
• Because of sedative, you may feel sleepy or tired for a couple of hours
• You may develop chest or throat infection, fever or blood in cough, then inform your doctor immediately
• In case you have a difficulty in breathing, then call your doctor right away
• A rare but very serious side effect of the bronchoscopy is pneumothorax where gas or air accumulates in the space surrounding the lungs which may cause the lungs to collapse