Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows CHOC doctors to examine your child’s throat, larynx, trachea and lower airways through a flexible, fiber optic tool called a bronchoscope.

Your child will be treated by an expert team of board-certified pediatric pulmonologists and anesthesiologists, clinical nurse specialists and surgical technicians — all with specialized training and expertise. We also offer a dedicated bronchoscopy suite just for kids with state-of-the-art equipment in our Tidwell Prodedure Center.

CHOC procedure center

What is a fiberoptic bronchoscopy?

A fiberoptic bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows us to look at the airways, or the tracheobronchial tree, through an easy-to-bend tube with a light and camera, called a bronchoscope. With the bronchoscope, we can evaluate the respiratory system, including the voice box (larynx), the wind pipe (trachea), and the airways (bronchi) for evidence of any abnormality or infection.

Why would my child need a bronchoscopy?

The bronchoscopy exam allows the airways to be examined while your child is breathing and mucus can be taken and sent for testing.

How long does a bronchoscopy take?

Most of the time needed is preparing your child for the bronchoscopy. The bronchoscopy itself takes about 20 minutes. The total time at CHOC, including admission and recovery, usually lasts between three to six hours. Please expect to stay overnight for further monitoring if your child is one year or under.

Will the test cause discomfort to my child?

At CHOC, we are experts at treating children. Every effort is taken to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere to make your child as comfortable as possible. Medicine is given to relax and comfort our patients. An IV (intravenous line) I used to give sedation. Our patients often tell us that starting the IV was the most uncomfortable part of the test. Occasionally, your child’s voice may become hoarse after the bronchoscopy. This generally goes away in a few hours. Your child’s doctor will answer any other questions you have on the day of your appointment.

When will my child be able to eat after the procedure?

Because of the numbing medicine that is placed on a child’s vocal cords, we wait an hour after the bronchoscopy before allowing your child to eat. Patients with gastrostomy tubes (g-tubes) will need to follow the same time frame prior to administering any feedings.

When will the results of the test be available?

Your child’s doctor will review any findings with you and answer any questions that you may have. A report of the test results will also be sent to your pediatrician. If testing has been done on any samples taken during the procedure, the results may take several days. Please make sure you schedule an appointment for follow-up in 1-2 weeks.

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