What Is A Laryngoscopy?


This procedure is an examination that your doctor performs to get a close-up view of your larynx and throat. Your larynx is your voice box, and it is found at the top of your trachea.

You must protect your larynx because it contains your vocal cords. As the air passes over your vocal cords it, causes them to vibrate to produce a sound, which gives you the ability to talk.

Your ENT or ears, nose, and throat doctor performs the exam. They will pass a small flexible camera through your nose called laryngoscope. 


Who needs a Laryngoscopy?

A Laryngoscopy may be performed if you exhibit the following:

  • Earache
  • Throat pain
  • Blood in cough
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • An object stuck in your throat

In office awake flexible laryngoscopy usually takes about 2 minutes. Sedated laryngoscopy in the operating room usually takes about 45 minutes.


Flexible Laryngoscopy

The procedure will have you lean forward in a high back chair. Numbing medicine or a localized anesthetic is usually sprayed in your nose and throat. Next, your doctor inserts a small flexible camera into through your nose to the back of your throat to visualize your voice box and all other throat structures. You may be asked to make sounds to have your larynx move.


Are there Side Effects

This exam has a relatively low risk of complications. You may experience minor irritation of the soft tissues in your throat after the exam, but the test is very safe. The numbing medication typically wears off within 45 minutes to an hour during which time we ask you not to eat or drink anything because your throat may remain numb.  


Sedated Operative/Direct Laryngoscopy

This procedure may happen in a hospital or surgery center. You are sedated under expert supervision, and you will not feel the test because of the anesthesia. A small and flexible telescope goes in either your mouth or nose and then down your throat. Your doctor will see through the telescope to get a close view of your larynx.

The procedure allows your doctor to remove growths, objects and collect samples. This test can be done if you are gagging easily or your doctor needs to see harder to see areas.


Results Interpretation

Your doctor may collect specimens during the procedure, remove growths, and retrieve foreign objects. A biopsy may also be performed after the procedure, and your doctor will discuss your results and treatment options.


How to Prepare for a Laryngoscopy

Arrange a ride to and from your procedure. You can’t drive after your procedure because of the anesthesia. Talk to your doctor about the procedure and ask what you need to prepare. Your doctor will forbid you from eating or drinking for eight hours before the exam. Be sure to tell your doctor about the medications you are currently taking. The meds you are taking may need to be stopped. Please check with your doctor to see if stopping your medication is safe before stopping the meds.     


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