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Bronchoscopy: Before Your Child's Procedure

What is bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy (say "bron-KOSS-koh-pee") is a type of procedure. The doctor uses a flexible tube to look at your child's airway. This tube is called a bronchoscope. It lets your doctor see your child's throat, voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), and bronchial tubes.

There are many reasons to have this procedure. Your doctor may look for problems with your child's airway. Or he or she may remove an object or growth. Your doctor could also take a sample of tissue to study. This is called a biopsy.

The doctor will put the bronchoscope into your child's mouth or nose and down the throat. This may seem scary. But your child will get medicine or anesthesia before the procedure. He or she will be relaxed or asleep.

Most people go home the same day. Your child will probably be back to a normal routine in 1 or 2 days. Depending on the reason for the procedure, your child's recovery could take longer. Your doctor will give you more information after the procedure.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell the doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some may increase the risk of problems during the procedure. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • Talk to your child about the surgery and what will happen. Hospitals know how to take care of children. The staff will do all they can to make it easier for your child.
  • Ask if a special tour of the surgery area and hospital is available. This may make your child feel less nervous about what happens.
  • Plan for your child's recovery time. Your child may need more of your time right after the procedure, both for care and for comfort.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, the procedure may be cancelled. If the doctor told you to have your child take his or her medicines on the day of the procedure, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
  • Have your child take a bath or shower before you come in. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
  • Your child may brush his or her teeth. But tell your child not to swallow any toothpaste or water.
  • Do not let your child wear contact lenses. Bring your child's glasses or contact lens case.
  • Be sure your child has something that reminds him or her of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
  • Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make your child sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The procedure will take about 30 to 60 minutes.
  • After the procedure, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery room staff will monitor his or her condition.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for the procedure.
  • Your child becomes ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.