Bronchoscopy procedure

What is Bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a procedure that lets doctors look at your lungs and air passages. It's usually performed by a doctor who specializes in lung disorders (a pulmonologist). During bronchoscopy, a thin tube (bronchoscope) is passed through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your lungs.

Bronchoscopy is most commonly performed using a flexible bronchoscope. However, in certain situations, such as if there's a lot of bleeding in your lungs or a large object is stuck in your airway, a rigid bronchoscope may be needed.

Common reasons for needing bronchoscopy are a persistent cough, infection or something unusual seen on a chest X-ray or other test.

Bronchoscopy can also be used to obtain samples of mucus or tissue, to remove foreign bodies or other blockages from the airways or lungs, or to provide treatment for lung problems.

It is a relatively quick and painless procedure, it requires little preparation, and people tend to recover quickly.

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About Iranian Surgery

Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best surgeons in Iran. The price of a Bronchoscopy in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined based on photos and an in-person assessment with the doctor. For more information about the cost of Bronchoscopy in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.

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Before Bronchoscopy Procedure

Why it's done

Bronchoscopy is usually done to find the cause of a lung problem. For example, your doctor might refer you for bronchoscopy because you have a persistent cough or an abnormal chest X-ray.

Reasons for doing bronchoscopy include:

. Diagnosis of a lung problem

. Identification of a lung infection

. Biopsy of tissue from the lung

. Removal of mucus, a foreign body, or other obstruction in the airways or lungs, such as a tumor.

. Placement of a small tube to hold open an airway (stent)

. Treatment of a lung problem (interventional bronchoscopy), such as bleeding, an abnormal narrowing of the airway (stricture) or a collapsed lung (pneumothorax)

During some procedures, special devices may be passed through the bronchoscope, such as a tool to obtain a biopsy, an electrocautery probe to control bleeding or a laser to reduce the size of an airway tumor. Special techniques are used to guide the collection of biopsies to ensure the desired area of the lung is sampled.

In people with lung cancer, a bronchoscope with a built-in ultrasound probe may be used to check the lymph nodes in the chest. This is called endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and helps doctors determine the appropriate treatment. EBUS may be used for other types of cancer to determine if the cancer has spread.

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Risks and complications

Bronchoscopy is usually safe, but there are certain risks.

There is a small chance that a person may develop:

. An abnormal heartbeat, which is called an arrhythmia

. Breathing difficulties

. Fever

. Infection

. Low blood oxygen levels during the procedure

. Minor bleeding, especially after a biopsy

. Pneumonia

Also, a person with a history of heart conditions may have an increased risk of heart attack.

Rarely, a bronchoscopy can cause a lung to collapse, which is called pneumothorax. This happens if the lung is punctured during the procedure. It is more likely if a doctor is using a rigid rather than a flexible scope.

Pneumothorax is serious and requires treatment. A doctor may perform a chest X-ray after a bronchoscopy to check the lungs for signs of collapse.

When a person has general anesthesia, additional risks include:

. Blood pressure changes

. Muscle pain

. Nausea

. A slow heart rate

. Vomiting

Types of imaging used in a bronchoscopy

Advanced forms of imaging are sometimes used to conduct a bronchoscopy. Advanced techniques can provide a more detailed picture of the inside of your lungs:

. During a virtual bronchoscopy, your doctor uses CT scans to see your airways in more detail.

. During an endobronchial ultrasound, your doctor uses an ultrasound probe attached to a bronchoscope to see your airways.

. During a fluorescence bronchoscopy, your doctor uses a fluorescent light attached to the bronchoscope to see the inside of your lungs.

How you prepare

Preparation for bronchoscopy usually involves food and medication restrictions, as well as discussion about additional precautions.

. Food and medications

You may be asked to stop taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix) and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) several days before bronchoscopy. You'll also be asked not to eat or drink for four to eight hours before the procedure.

. Clothing and personal items

On the day of the procedure, you'll be asked to put on a gown and take out any dentures, partial dentures or removable bridges. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids, contact lenses or glasses.

. Other precautions

If you'll be going home after the procedure, you'll need a friend or family member to take you home. You won't be able to drive because of the lingering effects of the medications used during the procedure. It's also a good idea to have someone stay with you for the rest of the day.

Before the procedure

You'll be asked to sit or lie back on a table or a bed with your arms at your sides. You'll be connected to monitors so that the health care team can track your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level during the procedure.

You'll be given a sedative medicine through a vein (intravenously) to help you relax. You'll feel sleepy, but you'll still be awake, breathing on your own, and able to indicate a response to any questions your doctor may ask you during the procedure. Sedative medications often result in you having very little memory of the bronchoscopy procedure once it is completed.

A numbing medication called an anesthetic will be sprayed in your throat. Sometimes an anesthetic gel is rubbed in your nose. These medications numb the areas, helping to lessen gagging and coughing as the bronchoscope is placed into your throat. At first the medicine may taste unpleasant, but the taste will go away.

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During Bronchoscopy Procedure

During Procedure

Bronchoscopy is usually done in a procedure room in a clinic or in a hospital operating room. The entire procedure, including prep and recovery time, typically takes about four hours. Bronchoscopy itself usually lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. Most people can return home on the day of the procedure.

During bronchoscopy, the bronchoscope is placed in your nose or mouth. The bronchoscope has a light and a very small camera at its tip that displays pictures on a monitor to help guide your doctor in performing the procedure.

The bronchoscope is advanced slowly down the back of your throat, through the vocal cords and into the airways. It may feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn't hurt. Your health care team will try to make you as comfortable as possible.

If a doctor needs to insert a stent or take a biopsy, they can pass brushes, needles, and other instruments through a channel in the bronchoscope. A stent is a small tube that helps to keep blocked or narrow airways open.

During the bronchoscopy, a doctor may take an ultrasound, to get a clearer picture of the lymph nodes and tissues in and around the bronchi.

Your doctor may ask if you have pain in your chest, back or shoulders. In general, you shouldn't feel pain.

After Bronchoscopy Procedure

Recovery time

A bronchoscopy is a relatively quick and painless procedure. Afterward, a person will need to remain at the hospital for a few hours until the medications wear off. Blood pressure and breathing are monitored during this time to check for complications.

When your mouth and throat are no longer numb, and you're able to swallow and cough normally again, you can have something to drink. Start with sips of water. Then you may eat soft foods, such as soup and applesauce. Add other foods as you feel comfortable.

After taking a sedative, a person should avoid driving, operating machinery, and drinking alcohol for 24 hours.

Most people can return to regular activities after 24 hours, but it is normal to have a sore throat and hoarseness for a few days. Warm water gargles and throat lozenges can help lessen the discomfort. Just be sure all the numbness is gone before you try gargling or sucking on lozenges.

Call your doctor right away if you:

. Have a fever that lasts more than 24 hours

. Have increasing chest pain

. Have trouble breathing

. Cough up more than a few tablespoons of blood

. A rapid heart rate

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Results and diagnosis

Immediately after the medications wear off, the doctor may share what they saw during the procedure. Other results, including those of a biopsy, can take several days or weeks to arrive.

Normal results of a bronchoscopy mean that the doctor did not see any foreign materials, blockages, or unusual cells or fluids in the bronchi.

If results are abnormal, the doctor will recommend further tests or treatments, depending on the outcome.

Abnormal results can indicate one or more of the following issues:

. Bacterial infection

. Viral infection

. Fungi or parasites

. Inflammation of lung tissue

. Lung damage

. Cancer

. Narrowing of the trachea or bronchi

. Rejection of a transplanted lung


A bronchoscopy is a safe procedure with a low risk of serious complications. Mortality rates for both flexible and rigid bronchoscopy procedures are less than 0.1 percent.

Bronchoscopy Procedure Cost

The cost of Bronchoscopy Procedure in Iran is between $ 200-400.

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