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A Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your lungs using a tool called a bronchoscope.   During a bronchoscopy your doctor will be able to rinse and clean the airways, take tiny tissue samples, remove foreign objects as well as look for signs of lung disease.

What is a Bronchoscope

A bronchoscope is a long, thin tube that has a camera attached to the end of it.  There are two types of bronchoscopes.  The most common type is a flexible bronchoscope.  This type of scope uses fiberoptics that allow it to bend in a variety ways.  The other type is called a rigid bronchoscope and is used mainly for removing large foreign objects that cannot be removed using the smaller flexible bronchoscope.

Before The Bronchoscopy

Before the bronchoscopy begins, a nurse will probably start an I.V. and give you some medication to help you relax.  You will be connected to a machine that will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level during the bronchoscopy.  A topical anesthetic is usually sprayed in the back of the throat and the nose to make them numb.  This will minimize any discomfort during the procedure.  Most people experience very little or no discomfort during a brochoscopy.

During the Bronchoscopy

The procedure begins with the doctor inserting the brochoscope into your nose or mouth.  The doctor will be able to see exactly where he is going by looking directly into the eye peice of the scope or looking at a video monitor.  This allows the doctor to easily guide the scope where it needs to go.  You may be aware of slight pressure or mild tugging as the scope moves through your airways.  During the bronchoscopy, the doctor will be able to suction any secretions or congestion that needs to be removed. The doctor will also be able to take tiny tissue samples that can be sent to a laboratory further analysis.

After the Bronchoscopy

After the bronchoscopy is complete, you will be monitored by a nurse until you are awake enough leave.  Do not eat or drink anything while your mouth is still numb.  This may be as long as 2 or 3 hours.  Also, you may notice a small amount of blood (less than a tablespoon) in the secretions you cough up for the next 2 or 3 days.  This is normal and should be no cause of concern.  Be sure to follow any special instructions given to you by your doctor after the procedure.