Bronchoscopy | Ramsay Health Care UK

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This webpage will give you information about a bronchoscopy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a bronchoscopy?

A bronchoscopy is a procedure to look for any problems inside the airways (bronchi) using a flexible telescope (see figure 1).


Are there any alternatives to a bronchoscopy?

An x-ray, scan or biopsy (removing small pieces of tissue) may give information about the cause of the problem.

What does the procedure involve?

Your doctor may offer you a sedative to help you relax. A bronchoscopy usually takes less than fifteen minutes. Your doctor will pass a flexible telescope (bronchoscope) through your nose and down into your lungs. Your doctor will use the bronchoscope to examine your airways. To help make the diagnosis, your doctor can perform biopsies and they may place a small amount of fluid in your lungs and then remove it.

What complications can happen?

  •  Shortness of breath
  •  Bleeding
  •  Developing a high temperature
  •  Developing a sore throat, husky voice or worsening of a cough
  •  Allergic reaction

How soon will I recover?

If you were given sedation, you will normally recover in about two hours. A member of the healthcare team will tell you what was found during the bronchoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need. You should be able to go back to work the day after the bronchoscopy.


A bronchoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if you have a problem in your airways.


Author: Dr David Baldwin MD FRCP
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved.
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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