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What is a bronchoscopy?

It is a test which enables the doctor to look at your child’s airway (back of throat, larynx and bronchi) while they are asleep.

A flexible tube is inserted either by mouth or nose down the back of the throat into the lungs.

Bronchoscopy can help in making the diagnosis of your child’s breathing problems and in planning appropriate treatment. It also allows specimens to be taken for testing.

How long will it take?

The procedure takes about 45 minutes. This includes the anaesthetic, the procedure and the time spent in the recovery room. Your child will be required to stay in the Day Unit for approximately four hours post procedure.

What happens when my child comes back?

On return to the Day Unit, your child may be upset and confused and will usually respond to your comforting them. They may be thirsty which will add to their discomfort.

When can my child eat and drink again?

You will be informed when you can start to give your child a drink; this is usually 60 minutes post procedure.

Whilst in theatre your child’s throat is sprayed with a local anaesthetic which takes time to wear off.

If your child uses a dummy or soother, this can be used. Once your child is drinking, they will be allowed some light food that the ward will provide.

When will I be able to take my child home?

Most children are able to return home four hours post procedure. Your child will need to have been reviewed by the doctor, be tolerating food and returned to normal behaviour.

Some children may need to stay overnight. The most common reasons that your child may not be able to go home are:

  • temperature post procedure
  • breathing difficulties
  • not taking diet and fluids
  • needs to continue treatment for a period after the bronchoscopy due to findings.

The nurses in the ward will discuss any changes to the discharge plan.

Care at home

High temperature

If your child develops a temperature please go to your closest hospital that treats children or contact your doctor.

Pain relief

Your child may experience discomfort in their throat. Mild pain relief such as paracetamol can be given as advised by product packaging.


Some children may vomit after the procedure. If your child vomits offer sips of clear fluid and dry toast or biscuits. If vomiting continues after 24 hours contact the respiratory team.


Your child should have a quiet day after the procedure and resume normal activities the following day.

Discharge arrangements

Please arrange to go home by car, as it is not advisable to use public transport after an anaesthetic.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency; you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building

Raymond Terrace

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470036
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 23/4/2015
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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