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Laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy are two procedures that may be done together. These allow the doctor to see inside the air passages in the throat and lungs. A laryngoscopy looks at the throat and vocal cords. Bronchoscopy looks at the trachea and lungs. These procedures can be used to diagnose problems. They can also be used to remove stuck objects. A tissue sample may be taken for testing (biopsy). And certain problems, like cysts or scarring, can be treated. Your doctor will tell you more about your procedure based on why it is being done. This sheet gives you general information about what to expect.
Prepare for the procedure as you have been instructed. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs. It also includes herbs and other supplements. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before surgery. Also, follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before surgery.
The procedure takes 30-60 minutes. Before the procedure begins:
An IV line is put into a vein in your arm or hand. This line delivers fluids and medications.
To keep you free of pain, you will be given anesthesia. This may be sedation, which makes you relaxed and droswy. Local anesthesia may also be injected or sprayed into your throat to numb it. If you are in the hospital, you may be given general anesthesia. This puts you in a state like deep sleep through the procedure.
A tube with a light and a camera called a scope is used. The tube may be flexible or rigid. If a flexible scope is used, it is passed through your nostril. If the scope is rigid, it is put into your mouth and passed down into the throat.
The scope is moved through the air passages to the lungs. The scope sends live images from inside the air passages to a video screen. This lets the doctor examine problems more closely.
If needed, a biopsy is done using small tools put through the scope.
If a growth is found, tools (including a laser) can be put through the scope to remove it.
You will be taken to a room to recover from the anesthesia. You will receive pain medication. Your throat may feel numb or scratchy. Swallowing may feel strange at first. This will improve within a few hours. When you are released to go home, have an adult family member or friend ready to drive you.
Once home, follow any instructions you have been given. These include:
Take pain medication as directed.
Do not eat or drink until swallowing returns to normal. As soon as you can swallow comfortably, drink plenty of water.
Use throat lozenges as advised by your doctor to help ease throat soreness.
Rest your voice as instructed by your doctor
After you get home, call the doctor if you have any of the following:
Chest pain or trouble breathing (call 911 or other emergency service)
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Trouble swallowing doesn’t improve or gets worse
Pain that does not go away even after taking pain medication
Severely hoarse voice
Severe nausea or vomiting
Cough that brings up more than tiny specks of blood
Within a few weeks, you will receive test results. Your doctor will discuss these with you on the phone or during a follow-up visit. Depending on what was found, you may need further evaluation and treatment.
Risks of this procedure include:
Swelling of the throat
Nosebleed (if the scope is passed through the nostril)
Cuts in the mouth, nose, or throat
Injury to the teeth
Vocal cord injury
Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
Perforation of the pharynx
Risks of anesthesia (you will discuss these with the anesthesiologist)