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A laryngoscopy is a visual examination of the voice box, or larynx, using a laryngoscope, a long, thin, flexible, or rigid tube with a light source. Laryngoscopy is performed to diagnose voice disorders, tumors, and infections. It can also be used to perform biopsies or remove airway obstructions. The two types of laryngoscopy are direct laryngoscopy and indirect laryngoscopy. Direct laryngoscopy uses a rigid scope and is usually done under anesthesia. Indirect laryngoscopy uses a mirror and a flexible scope passed through the mouth or nose. Laryngoscopy is usually done to help make a diagnosis and to treat laryngeal conditions.

What is Laryngoscopy?

Laryngoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that helps view the larynx (voice box). As a noninvasive imaging technique, laryngoscopy provides a detailed, close-up view of the larynx and surrounding structures. A laryngoscopy can be performed in one of two ways: direct laryngoscopy or indirect laryngoscopy. Direct laryngoscopy is done using a rigid laryngoscope while the indirect form is conducted using a flexible scope through the mouth or nose.

When is Laryngoscopy Recommended?

Laryngoscopy is advised for a number of reasons, but it is often done to assess and identify disorders that affect the larynx or voice box. The indications include:

  • Voice Changes: Such as persistent hoarseness, voice loss, or changes of voice that persist for an extended period of time, especially if they do not resolve with initial treatments.
  • Breathing difficulties: Such as noisy breathing, stridor, significant shortness of breath, or wheezing due to laryngeal obstruction.
  • Throat or Ear Pain: Most importantly, throat or ear pain that is chronic (persists more than a few days) and not explained by another diagnosis.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Especially when the evaluation raises suspicion of a cause that is related to the larynx. 
  • Throat Mass (or neck mass): Evaluation of suspected tumors or cysts in the throat region.
  • Chronic Cough: When you are experiencing chronic cough that is not subsiding with standard treatments, a laryngoscopy can help identify, laryngeal abnormalities if any.

How to Prepare for Laryngoscopy?

The following measures will help you get ready for a laryngoscopy:

1. Medical background and medications:

  • Tell the doctor about your medical history, including any respiratory or cardiovascular concerns.
  • Indicate every drug, herbal remedy, and nutritional supplement you are using. Some medications you may be taking must be stopped before the surgery.

2. Fasting:

  • You'll probably be advised to fast (have no food or liquids) for several hours before the procedure, which may need general anesthesia or sedation.

3. Avoid Smoking:

  • Smoking should be avoided before the surgery since it might irritate the airway and interfere with healing as well.

4. Allergies:

  • Any allergies should be disclosed to the doctor, especially those to local or general anesthetics.

5. Wear Comfortable Clothes:

  • Dress comfortably and loosely. However, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown before the procedure.

6. Plan Your Transportation:

  • Make plans for your ride home as the effect of anesthesia may still linger and it will not be safe to drive immediately after the procedure

Following the right measures before the procedure will help ensure a successful and comfortable experience.

How is Laryngoscopy Performed?

The larynx (voice box) and vocal cords are examined during a laryngoscopy. Indirect laryngoscopy and direct laryngoscopy are the two basic types of the procedure. An outline of each of these techniques is provided below:

1. Indirect Laryngoscopy:

Setting: Often performed in a doctor's office.


  • The patient is instructed to extend their tongue while seated.
  • To relieve pain and stop the gag reflex, a topical anesthetic may be sprayed at the back of the throat.
  • To acquire a clear look, the doctor keeps the patient's tongue in place using gauze.
  • At the back of the throat, a small mirror is positioned.
  • The larynx is illuminated and seen by shining a light from the front of the mouth, which reflects off the mirror.
  • In order to better see the vocal cords, the patient could be instructed to produce high-pitched noises.

2. Direct Laryngoscopy:

Setting: Operating room.


  • The patient lies on the surgical table 
  • The patient receives general anesthesia, rendering him or her asleep during the procedure.
  • A stiff tool with a light at its tip called a laryngoscope is inserted through the mouth and down the throat.
  • The tongue is moved out of the way so the larynx can be seen clearly.
  • During this surgery, various tools can be used to obtain biopsies, remove foreign objects, or operate on the larynx or surrounding tissues.

Recovery and Aftercare Following Laryngoscopy

The recovery process will depend on the type of laryngoscopy performed and if additional procedures, like biopsies or removal of growths, were performed. Here’s a general guide to what you can expect when you recover from a laryngoscopy:

1. Indirect Laryngoscopy:


  • Since the procedure is minimally invasive, recovery is nearly rapid.
  • Any sprays used might leave a taste in your mouth or cause a small irritation in your throat.


  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen can be used to address a sore throat if you choose to, but be sure to ask your doctor first.
  • For the first few hours after the surgery, avoid food that is very hot or very cold.

2. Direct Laryngoscopy:


  • Since general anesthesia is frequently used for the procedure, the patient will be monitored in a recovery room until completely awake.
  • There may be some pain or swelling, and the throat will probably feel sore.


  • Follow all post-operative instructions given by the doctor, particularly if biopsies or other procedures were performed.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or medications as prescribed can be taken for pain and discomfort.
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid very hot drinks for a day or two.
  • A softer diet will be more comfortable in the first day or two.
  • Avoid alcohol and do not smoke.
  • Do not clear your throat vigorously or cough forcefully.
  • Notify the doctor for excessive bleeding, increasing difficulty in breathing, high fever or severe pain.

Risks and Benefits of Laryngoscopy


  • Direct Visualization: Laryngoscopy is the direct visualization of the larynx (voice box) and can be done for several reasons including the diagnosis of several conditions.
  • Diagnostic Clarity: Visible detection of Laryngeal Tumors, Laryngeal Polyps, Laryngeal Nodules, Laryngeal Cysts, and other visible structural abnormalities in the larynx.
  • Therapeutic Applications: Direct laryngoscopy allows other interventions with the removal of foreign bodies, needle biopsies, and surgical removal of laryngeal and other neck cancer.
  • Safety: Generally considered safe with less than one percent of serious complications. Experts in the evaluation and treatment of voice disorders/voice box problems perform the vast majority of endoscopies.


  • Sore Throat: This is one of the most common temporary side effects.
  • Bleeding: This is most common if a biopsy has been taken or a lesion was removed, but it can happen after a laryngoscopy without these procedures. In most instances it is mild, but in rare cases, it may be significant.
  • Infection: Also uncommon, especially if you did not have an incision or a biopsy.
  • Oral Damage: In some cases, damage to teeth or mouth may occur, particularly when a direct laryngoscopy is performed.
  • Breathing Difficulties: On rare occasions, swelling or an adverse reaction to anesthesia may make breathing difficult.
  • Voice Changes: These may occur if the vocal cords have been manipulated or if a laser or other tool has been used to remove tissue. These tools may cause temporary or, occasionally, permanent changes in the voice.
  • Adverse Reactions to Anesthesia: A procedure under anesthesia carries a certain amount of risk for an adverse reaction with the patient every time. However, this occurs in very few instances.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty task of finding the best hospital in Hoshiarpur, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest cost. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health and recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Medfin offers the latest surgical procedures to ensure that you recover as fast as possible in the least painful way possible.

For indirect and flexible laryngoscopies, you might not need to fast. However, for direct laryngoscopy, you'll likely be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for several hours before the procedure.

While laryngoscopy can visualize abnormal growths or lesions in the larynx, a definitive diagnosis of cancer requires a biopsy and pathological examination.

The duration of a laryngoscopy can vary depending on the type of procedure and the reason for it. An office-based flexible laryngoscopy may take only a few minutes, while a direct laryngoscopy in a hospital setting can take longer, especially if it's part of a surgical procedure.

Mild bleeding, especially after a biopsy, can be expected. However, if the bleeding is persistent or seems excessive, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

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