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Indirect Laryngoscopy


During an indirect laryngoscopy, your healthcare provider uses a scope to see images of the back of your throat. The scope is inserted through your mouth or nose. It has a camera on its tip that sends the images to a TV-like screen. An indirect laryngoscopy can help find the cause of swallowing problems, pain with swallowing, or a long-term hoarse voice. It can also help identify problems with your vocal cords or reflux (backflow) of stomach contents into your throat. An indirect laryngoscopy helps your healthcare provider diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan. You might also have procedures or other treatments during an indirect 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 provider about any health conditions: Tell your healthcare provider if one of your nostrils is plugged or blocked. Your healthcare provider will also want to know if you gag easily.
  • You may be given anesthesia: Local anesthetic is not always needed, but it can make laryngoscopy more comfortable for you. Local anesthetic may be sprayed inside your mouth or gargled as a liquid.

During the procedure:

You will sit up and lean forward with a straight back. During a nasal laryngoscopy, a flexible scope is placed inside one of your nostrils. The scope is moved through your nose into the back of your throat to show images of your tongue, larynx (voice box), and pharynx. During an oral laryngoscopy, a scope is placed in your mouth and past your teeth and tongue. You or your healthcare provider may hold your tongue out of the way as your healthcare provider moves the scope to the back of your mouth. Your healthcare provider may ask you to pant or make sounds as he sees different parts of your throat. You may see images on a screen during the procedure. Your healthcare provider may remove objects, take a biopsy (tissue sample) for tests, or use material to build up your vocal cords so they work better.

Indirect Oral Laryngoscopy Indirect Nasal Laryngoscopy


You may gag during an indirect laryngoscopy. You will likely have a hoarse voice for a while after a 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

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