What We Do

Bronchoscopies are done in a procedure room in which a doctor, with the help of a nurse, inserts a flexible, fibre-optic tube called a bronchoscope into your mouth or nose to look inside your lungs.

Some reasons for having a bronchoscopy include:

  • Infection, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia or an abscess
  • Diagnosis of cancer
  • Investigation of bleeding
  • Investigation of chronic cough
  • Excessive mucous in lungs/lung collapse​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Your Procedure

Your doctor will explain the reasons for your bronchoscopy, the procedure and outline any special instructions. Your doctor's office will notify you of your appointment date and time.

How to Prepare

Please bring with you a list of your current medications. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

You can have NOTHING to eat or drink from midnight the night before your bronchoscopy. Medications can be taken with a sip of water unless you are instructed otherwise by your doctor. Your doctor may tell you to stop certain medications (such as blood thinners) prior to your bronchoscopy. Please ask your doctor or respirologist if you are uncertain about which medication to take or stop.

You will be sedated during this procedure. A friend or family member will be instructed on how to care for you after the exam and be required to drive and/or accompany you home. They can also help you gather information, take notes and ask questions.

Checking In

When you arrive at the Endoscopy Unit, check in at the reception desk. Please have the following ready:

  • Health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Your name, address and birth date

Please arrive at least 30-45 minutes before your appointment.

Before the Bronchoscopy

When you check-in, the receptionist will give you a name band to wear. The nurse will call you when it is time for your bronchoscopy. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. There are lockers for your clothes in the changing area, but you should keep your valuables with you.

A nurse and a respiratory therapist will prepare you for the bronchoscopy by setting up a temporary IV for you. You'll get medication to help you relax, sleep and stay comfortable during the procedure.

During and After the Bronchoscopy

During the bronchoscopy, samples can be obtained from your lungs by washing, biopsy or brushing.

You may resume eating and/or drinking TWO HOURS after the freezing has been given. Start slowly with sips of water and make sure you don't cough or gag when swallowing.

You may have a sore throat, slight hoarseness, a dry cough or a tickle in your throat for a day or two. You may use lozenges or gargle with warm salt water as necessary. It is not unusual to have a slight rise in temperature after the procedure. If the fever persists longer than a day, you should notify your physician. Coughing up blood, particularly after a biopsy, is not uncommon. This should subside in several hours but if it continues you should call your doctor.

It is recommended you go home and rest after your bronchoscopy.

  • DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages or take any sedatives
  • DO NOT drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery
  • DO NOT make any legal or financial decisions after having received IV sedation.

Contact your doctor or go to the nearest Emergency Department if you develop the following new or severe symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up large amounts of blood (1-2 Tbsp of blood)

UHN Discharge Instructions for Patients Following Bronchoscopy will be given to you with instructions and what to expect after your procedure.

The Results of Your Bronchoscopy

At the end of your procedure, the doctor will speak to you and your family member or friend and explain any follow-up procedures and what you can expect.

If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don't be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.

How Long Will Your Appointment Be?

Preparation for the procedure takes about half an hour with the actual bronchoscopy taking about 30 minutes. You will remain in the recovery room for an additional 30-60 min upon which the nurse will determine when it is safe for you to be discharged. In some situations, a chest x-ray may be required after your bronchoscopy (to be determined by the doctor).

We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances.​

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