Examination of the lungs (Bronchoscopy)

A bronchoscopy is performed with a thin, flexible tube to examine the lungs.


We hope this information answers some of the questions you may have about this procedure.


The procedure is performed with a bronchoscope. A bronchoscope is a thin, flexible tube with an imaging device at the tip.

The procedure allows the doctor to see how the membranes look in the airway passages of your lungs (bronchi), and to take tissue samples (biopsies), which will be sent for testing of different kinds.

In Danish the procedure is called kikkertundersøgelse or bronkoskopi.

Before the procedure

If you take blood thinners (anticoagulants), you should not take them for several days prior to the procedure. The nurse will tell you how many days you need to skip.

You may not eat for a minimum of 6 hours before the procedure. You may drink water up to 2 hours before.

We recommend that you do not smoke for a few days before the procedure.

On the day of the procedure

On the morning of the procedure you may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth without swallowing.

You may take your regular morning medications with a little glass of water, by agreement with the nurse, at the latest 2 hours before the procedure.

Please do not use nail polish or lipstick.

At the hospital

You should come:

Date: __________
Time: __________
Department (afd.): ____________

Here you will be provided with patient clothing and a bed.

The staff will measure your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen saturation (oximetry) in your blood.

A plastic cannula (drop) will be inserted in your hand or arm.

An orderly will take you to the procedure room.

In the procedure room

You will be greeted by medical and nursing staff, which will help prepare you for the procedure.

At the beginning of the procedure, the doctor will give you medicine in your drop to help you relax, and local anesthetic in your nose. Afterwards, the doctor will insert the bronchoscope through your nose and down into the airways in your lungs.

If the bronchoscope cannot come through the nose, the doctor will use the mouth instead. You will receive local anesthesia in your throat while the doctor inserts the bronchoscope.

It is important that you tell the staff if there are any special considerations they need to take with regards to your teeth.

The procedure can be a little uncomfortable while the bronchoscope is guided through the nose, but after this it does not usually hurt.

Length of procedure

The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes.

After the procedure

You will be taken back to the recovery room, where a nurse will monitor your condition.

Since you have received medication during the procedure, you will need to remain in the department until you are awake.

Because of the local anesthetic, you should not eat or drink anything for 1 hour after the procedure. After 1 hour, we will offer you a light meal and something to drink.

You can arrange with the nurse when you can get up.

After a few hours, the plastic cannula in your hand will be removed.

When you are ready to go home, you should take a taxi, Falck, or be driven home by a family member or friend. You may not drive a car for the rest of the day, and you should not travel alone before the next day.


The time of discharge will be arranged with the nurse.


After the procedure it is normal to cough a little blood up. If you cough large amounts of blood up, you should contact a doctor. Hoarseness and an irritated cough are not uncommon.

The first day after the procedure it is normal to have a little fever. If the fever continues, or you have difficulty breathing, you should contact a doctor.


You will receive the results of the procedure during an appointment with a doctor in our pulmonology day clinic. The appointment is usually 7 weekdays after the procedure. Your primary nurse will arrange the time and place of your appointment.

You will receive a lot of information during the appointment. We recommend that you bring a family member or a good friend with you. It is also a good idea to write down any questions you might have ahead of time.