A bronchoscopy is a procedure by which a small fiber optic tube of half a centimeter in diameter is introduced to the lungs through the nose.
This procedure allows the doctor to visualize the inside of the bronchial airways and to also take samples from specific areas of the lungs, by using a technique that takes washings, brushings or a biopsy. A prior chest x-ray or CT scan identifies the suspect areas that are targeted.
There are multiple indications that may lead the doctor to suggest that you have a bronchoscopy. The procedure can be done in an outpatient office setting or hospital setting.
The procedure is done under what is known as “moderate sedation.” An intravenous anesthetic medication is given, and it places the patient in a sedated state but still able to breathe on his own (similar to a colonoscopy). Usually the patient has no recollection of time and no memory of what happened.
The whole procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and then the individual remains for observation for one to two hours for full recovery from the anesthesia before being completely awake and able to go home, You will be asked to arrange to have someone take you home once you are fully awake.