This is an examination of the back of the throat, including the voice box, using a small flexible tube placed through the nose or mouth into the throat.
Laryngoscopy is an examination of the back of the throat, including the larynx. The larynx is often called the voice box, because it contains the vocal cords that allow us to speak. The procedure can be done in one of three ways.
An indirect laryngoscopy uses a small mirror and light to see the back of the throat. By shining the light on the mirror, the examiner can see the back of the throat. It is typically performed in a healthcare provider's office.
A fiberoptic laryngoscopy uses a small flexible tube placed through the nose into the throat. This allows the examiner to see the larynx. It is typically performed in a healthcare provider's office.
A direct laryngoscopy places a small rigid or flexible tube into the back of the throat. This allows the examiner to see deeper in the throat and remove either a foreign object or a suspicious piece of tissue for biopsy. This procedure is typically done as an outpatient in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center after you have been given general anesthesia, so you are asleep and pain-free. You will need to remain in the facility where the procedure was performed until you are awake and able to drink fluids.
This care path includes information and the costs for a fiberoptic laryngoscopy performed in a healthcare provider's office.
Fiberoptic laryngoscopies may be recommended if you have persistent throat or voice box symptoms, such as:
persistent change in the sound quality of your voice
difficulty swallowing or feeling like something is stuck in your throat
persistent pain in your ear or throat
a lump in your head or neck area, especially if you are a smoker or former smoker
There is no special preparation for a fiberoptic laryngoscopy. Your healthcare provider will numb your throat or the inside of your nose prior to inserting the tube, but you should not need other medications.
During the procedure, you may feel pressure in your nose and the back of your throat. Some people also feel like they are going to sneeze when the nose is the entry point for the procedure.
Indirect laryngoscopies are not usually done in children or people with a strong gag reflex. They are better candidates for a fiberoptic laryngoscopy.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a laryngoscopy?
What is the reason for the procedure?
Are there any alternatives to having the procedure?
What type of laryngoscopy are you going to perform?
What type of medications will I need, if any? Will my throat be numbed?
What are the possible complications and how will I feel after the procedure?
How many of these procedures have your performed? How many of your patients have had complications that required them to remain in the hospital?
After your procedure, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.
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