What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Laryngoscopy?

Laryngoscopy is the visual exam of the voice box (larynx) and the vocal cords. There are two main kinds:

Indirect laryngoscopy—uses mirrors to examine the larynx and hypopharynx (a portion of the passageway to the lungs and stomach)

Direct laryngoscopy—uses a special instrument, most often a flexible scope

The Larynx
The Larynx
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Both are usually done in the office.

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

  • 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

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have a laryngoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • 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

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • 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

In case of emergency, CALL 911.