What Happens During the Procedure?

You will probably be lying down during the bronchoscopy. The doctor will slowly put the bronchoscope through your nose and throat, between your vocal cords, into your windpipe, and then down into your lungs. Any urge to cough or feelings of discomfort should be temporary. Your doctor will stop and let you catch your breath before continuing.

Take slow, shallow breaths through your mouth and do not talk. (This will help prevent a sore throat.) If needed, you will receive remedication through the instrument to help relieve coughing.

The procedure can take from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how long it takes for the medicine to take effect and what procedures the doctor needs to perform.

What Is the Recovery Time after Bronchoscopy?

Recovery times vary from person to person. You will be observed until you are alert enough to leave. It is recommended that you bring someone along to drive you home.

You must wait 30 minutes to an hour before drinking anything, until the numbness wears off. It is unlikely that you will have any problems after the procedure. However, if you feel chest pain or increased shortness of breath, develop a fever, or cough up large amounts of blood once you leave the hospital, call your doctor right away. It is normal to cough up a small amount of blood for one or two days after the procedure.

When Do I Get the Results?

Your doctor can tell you right away how your airways look. You may get laboratory results within one to four days, but other results can take longer, depending on what was performed during the bronchoscopy.

Publication Review By: Peter B. Terry, M.D., M.A.

Published: 22 Aug 2011

Last Modified: 20 Jun 2013