What you should know
A flexible bronchoscopy is a procedure to look inside your respiratory system. Healthcare providers use a bronchoscope, which is a soft, bendable tube with a light and tiny camera on the end. Pictures of your respiratory system appear on a monitor during the procedure.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may bleed or have pain as the scope is inserted. Your heartbeat may slow down and your blood pressure may decrease. This can cause you to sweat and faint. The scope may puncture (make a hole) or perforate (tear) your airway. You may get an infection after the procedure. The space between your lungs and chest may fill with air or blood. These problems can be life-threatening. Without this procedure, your signs and symptoms may get worse. You may have a condition that is not diagnosed or treated properly. This can be life-threatening.
Before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Dye may be used during your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a bronchoscopy before and when it was done.
- You may need blood tests, imaging tests, or pulmonary function tests. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
The night before your procedure:
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine, such as diabetic or heart pills, on the day of your procedure. If you need to take medicines, take them with few small sips of water.
- Healthcare providers may insert an IV into your vein. You may be given liquids or medicine through the IV.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
- You will be taken to the bronchoscopy room and moved onto a bed or table. A small pillow or folded towel may be placed under your head. Your eyes may be covered with eye pads. Your healthcare provider will place a mouthguard to help protect your teeth. Your healthcare provider will give you medicine to numb your throat, help you relax, or stop coughing or gagging. These medicines may be taken by mouth, gargled, or sprayed on your throat.
- Your healthcare provider will gently pass the scope through your nose or mouth and into your airway. He will examine each part that the scope passes, such as your trachea. He may take tissue samples and send them to the lab for tests. He will remove foreign objects or tumors that may be blocking your airway. Your healthcare provider may also insert tools, such as lasers, probes, or needles, through the scope. These will be used to heat or freeze tissues, stop bleeding, or place a stent (tube) or balloon. He may take pictures of the inside of your airway. Your healthcare provider will gently remove the scope when the procedure is finished.
After your procedure:
You will be allowed to go home when your healthcare provider says it is okay. If your healthcare provider wants you to stay in the hospital, you will be taken back to your hospital room. You may need the following:
- Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Healthcare providers use it to check for infection, collapsed lung, or fluid around the heart and lungs.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your appointment on time.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You are not able to swallow.
- Your signs and symptoms get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.