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What To Expect After Bronchoscopy

After bronchoscopy, you'll need to stay at the hospital or clinic for up to a few hours. If your doctor uses a bronchoscope with a rigid tube, the recovery time is longer. While you're at the clinic or hospital:

  • You may have a chest x ray if your doctor took a sample of lung tissue. This test will check for a pneumothorax and bleeding. A pneumothorax is a condition in which air collects in the space around the lungs. This can cause one or both lungs to collapse.
  • A nurse will check your breathing and blood pressure.
  • You can't eat or drink until the numbness in your throat wears off, which will take about 1–2 hours.

After recovery, you'll need someone to drive you home because you'll be too sleepy to drive.

If samples of tissue or fluid were taken during the procedure, they'll be tested in a laboratory (lab). Talk to your doctor about when you'll get the lab results.

Recovery and Recuperation

Your doctor will let you know when you can return to your normal activities, such as driving, working, and physical activity.

For the first few days, you may have a sore throat, cough, and hoarseness. Call your doctor right away if you:

  • Develop a fever
  • Have chest pain
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Cough up more than a few tablespoons of blood
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Bronchoscopy Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Bronchoscopy, visit

February 08, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.