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Rigid Bronchoscopy


A rigid bronchoscopy is a procedure to look inside your respiratory system. Healthcare providers use a bronchoscope, which is a firm tube with a light and tiny camera on the end. Pictures of your respiratory system appear on a monitor during the procedure.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to make you comfortable. You may not feel discomfort, pressure, or pain. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. Ask your caregiver if you can drive or use machinery within 24 hours. Also ask if and when you can drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicine. You may not want to make important decisions until 24 hours have passed.
  • Monitoring:
    • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
    • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
    • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

During your procedure:

  • 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 the 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.


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.


You 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.