Laryngoscopy

Laryngoscopy is the visual exam of the voice box, also called the larynx, and the vocal cords. There are two main kinds: Both procedures are usually done in the office.

  • Call Your Doctor

    It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the care center. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

    • Increasing pain
    • Coughing up, spitting out, or vomiting blood
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Hoarse voice
    • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Laryngoscopy is the
    visual exam of the voice box, also called the larynx, and the vocal cords. There are two main kinds:

    • Indirect laryngoscopy—uses mirrors to examine the larynx and hypopharynx, which is a portion of the passageway to the lungs and stomach
    • Direct laryngoscopy—uses a special instrument, most often a flexible scope

    Both procedures are usually done in the office.

    The Larynx
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Laryngoscopy is used to examine and diagnose problems inside the throat. It is most often done:

    • To assist in intubation to help with breathing for surgery or serious illness
    • To diagnose the cause of a persistent cough, bloody cough, hoarseness, throat pain, or bad breath
    • To evaluate reasons for difficulty swallowing
    • To evaluate a possible cause for persistent earache
    • To remove a foreign object
    • To visualize a mass in the throat
    • To biopsy tissue inside the throat

    • To remove polyps inside the throat

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Pain
    • Vomiting and gagging
    • Excessive swelling or bleeding
    • Cuts on the bottom of the tongue from stretching it over the teeth
    • Bleeding from the nose if the scope is passed through the nose
    • Anesthesia-related problems
    • Breathing problems from swelling
    • Infection