Laryngoscopy is a procedure that visually examines the larynx, which is the organ responsible for producing your voice. Laryngoscopy may be done by holding a small mirror below the back of the throat or by using a long tube with a camera, called a laryngoscope. Laryngoscopes may be rigid or flexible. A rigid laryngoscope is passed through the mouth, while a flexible one is inserted into the nose.
Because it allows a doctor to see narrowing, inflammation, and blockages in the throat, this procedure can help diagnose symptoms such as throat pain, persistent cough, and issues with breathing or swallowing. If cancer is suspected, laryngoscopy may be used to take a tiny tissue sample (biopsy) for examination in a laboratory.
Aside from diagnosing problems with your voice box, laryngoscopy may provide treatment as well. For example, if aging has caused the vocal cords to shrink, a laryngoscope may be used to inject medication into the vocal cords in order to augment them. The scope can also remove foreign objects lodged in the throat or abnormal growths from the vocal cords.
Laryngoscopy is usually performed at the doctor’s office, so downtime is minimal. For a week or two following laryngoscopy combined with other procedures, you should limit using your voice to allow your throat or vocal cords to heal properly. To help soothe your throat, you can try gargling with warm salt water or sucking on lozenges. You may be able to return to work the day after your procedure, but if you need to use your voice frequently at work, you may have to take one or two weeks off.