This page provides some information regarding a bronchoscopy procedure. For further details, please speak to your GP or consultant.

What exactly is a bronchoscopy?

The bronchoscopy procedure is an examination of the airways (bronchi). Using a flexible, telescopic instrument (see figure 1), it is possible to check for anything unusual which could be causing a problem.

Figure 1 Bronchoscopy

Are there any alternative methods?

Depending on your specific situation, there are other methods which might be appropriate. X-rays and scans might be recommended or a biopsy (the removal of a small amount of tissue) might be able to determine the cause of any health issues.

How is a bronchoscopy performed?

A bronchoscopy is a short and straightforward procedure which takes less than 15 minutes. If you are a suitable candidate, you may be given a sedative before the procedure.

A thin, flexible instrument called a bronchoscope will be inserted into your nostrils to pass through into your lungs. This allows your healthcare professional to take a closer look at your bronchi. In order to diagnose effectively, sometimes a biopsy might be needed. Another test may involve a little fluid placed in and then removed from your lungs.

What are the potential risks?

The bronchoscopy procedure is usually safe and effective. However, potential complications which can occur due to a bronchoscopy include:

  • A temperature
  • Tender throat
  • Husky voice
  • A worsened cough
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bleeding
  • Feeling short of breath

What is the recovery process like?

You should be able to go home on the same day as your procedure. However, it is likely you will be sedated and this should take around two hours to wear off. Unless otherwise advised, you ought to be able to return to work and resume normal activities the following day.


A bronchoscopy procedure is generally a safe and accurate way of checking for problems in the airways.

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EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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