Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are bronchoscopys very painful?"
I am a 24 year old guy with a low tolerance for pain. Will my bronchoscopy hurt a lot?
Sorry to hear that you are having to undergo a bronchoscopy. This is a complete assumption, but the fact that you asked some questions on a forum probably means that you are at least relatively nervous about having it done. Hopefully I can decrease any anxiety that may be there by giving you some information. First of all, bronchoscopy can be performed a number of different ways...there are two main categories of different types of bronchoscopes that can be used: rigid, and flexible. Historically all bronchoscopy was performed using rigid scopes. These are straight scopes that the physician looks through with their naked eye. This form of bronchoscopy has generally been replaced by flexible bronchoscopy save for a few different situations. Some physicians still choose to use the rigid bronchoscope in pediatric patients, when removing foreign bodies (although the flexible bronchoscope can do this as well), in airway emergencies, and when the patient needs to be ventilated for a significant period of time during bronchoscopy. (This is not an all inclusive list...just to give you an idea). Flexible bronchoscopy is much more common and uses a camera and flexible fiberoptic scope which can be passed down the bronchial tree without significant distortion of the normal anatomy. Most of the time this procedure is done under conscious sedation, so the patient is completely comfortable, and breathing on their own. They are typically given versed which causes anterograde amnesia, meaning that the patient shouldn't remember much of anything that was done. The alternative is to have the bronch done under general anesthesia, where you will definitely not feel anything, and the anesthesiologist will be ventilating you (not breathing spontaneously like conscious sedation). Either situation you should be completely comfortable. You may have a sore throat for a few days afterwards from the scopes, but this generally isn't terrible. Nonetheless I recommend talking to your physician if you are still worried about the bronch. Good luck. Hope this helps.
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