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Direct Laryngoscopy


During a direct laryngoscopy, your healthcare provider places a scope into your mouth to see directly inside your throat. You may need a direct laryngoscopy to find injuries, growths, tumors, or other problems in your larynx (voice box) or vocal cords. Direct laryngoscopy helps your healthcare provider diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan. You might also have surgery or other treatments during a direct laryngoscopy.


Before the procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Tell your healthcare providers about any neck problems or dental work: Your neck must bend as the scope moves past your teeth and tongue. Tell your healthcare provider if you gag easily or have problems extending your neck. Tell your healthcare provider if you have dentures, loose teeth, or other dental work.
  • Local anesthetic or general anesthesia will be given: Local anesthetic may be sprayed inside your mouth, gargled as a liquid, or given as a shot. When you have local anesthetic, you will be awake but you will be more comfortable during the laryngoscopy. General anesthesia will put you to sleep during the procedure. General anesthesia is given with a mask or with a breathing tube placed down your throat. If you are having general anesthesia, ask your healthcare provider when you need to stop eating or drinking before the laryngoscopy.
  • You may be given drying medicines: To see the area better, your healthcare provider may give you medicine that dries the mucus or fluids in your throat.

During the procedure:

You will lie on your back with your head supported. Healthcare providers will protect your teeth with gauze or a tooth guard. Your healthcare provider will place the scope into your mouth, past your teeth and tongue, and into your throat. Dye may be placed on your vocal cords to help them show up clearly. Your healthcare provider may remove growths, take a biopsy (tissue sample) for tests, or use materials to build up your vocal cords so they work better. Before the scope is removed, the area is numbed with local anesthetic to help prevent spasms of the larynx.

Direct Laryngoscopy


You may gag during direct laryngoscopy. Your teeth, lips, or tongue may be damaged by the scope. Sometimes your throat will close and reopen suddenly (spasm) after the procedure. This can cause short-term problems with breathing or talking. You will likely have a hoarse voice for a while after laryngoscopy.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.