Bronchoscopy is a surgical procedure that allows the healthcare professional to see the lungs and air passages. It is usually done by a doctor known as a pulmonologist who has specialisation in treating lung disorders. The procedure is generally done through a flexible bronchoscope. However, in some situations, a rigid bronchoscope might be required if there is excessive bleeding in the lungs or a large object is stuck in the lungs. It is also used for obtaining mucus or tissue samples for the removal of foreign bodies from the lungs or to offer treatment for lung issues.
Bronchoscopy procedure is generally performed for detecting the reasons behind the lung problems. For instance, the doctor might do this procedure if a patient is experiencing persistent cough. Here are some of the reasons explaining why bronchoscopy procedure is done:
The healthcare provider will give certain instructions to the patient for how to be prepared for the bronchoscopy test. The patient is asked to fast for a sometime before the procedure. He/she is also asked to stop medication which can cause blood thinning such as warfarin. Since the procedure is initiated with giving anaesthesia, hence it is recommended to get someone along who can drive the patient afterwards.
The complete bronchoscopy procedure generally takes around 30 minutes to a few hours. During a procedure, the patient is asked to lie down on the table. The healthcare expert begins the procedure with inserting an IV to the arm to give sedatives. Numbing spray is applied to the throat or nose by the provider. After the area is numb and the patient is sedated, the healthcare professional starts bronchoscope insertion through the mouth or nose and down into the patient’s windpipe to the lungs. Once the procedure is done, the bronchoscope is removed. The healthcare team ensures monitoring the patient’s condition until he/she is fully awake.
Since bronchoscopy is an outpatient procedure, the patient is required to spend at least a night in the hospital. However, it also depends on how the patient responds to the procedure. If the doctor finds everything is fine, then the patient can go home within a few hours of the procedure. The healthcare team makes sure to assess the patients while he/she is breathing and swallowing. It takes around a few hours for the numbness in the throat to vanish off. The patient might experience sore throat, hoarseness, or cough for sometime after the procedure is done.
The healthcare team informs the patients by when they can expect the test results and accordingly ensures scheduling a follow-appointment.
There are some bronchoscopy complications which patients should be mindful of such as:
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It takes around 30 minutes to a few hours for the complete bronchoscopy procedure.
A biopsy bronchoscopy helps in detecting several lung illnesses including infections due to bacteria, fungi, parasites, tuberculosis, and viruses. It also helps the doctor to detect lung inflammation due to reactions that are allergic-type.
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