Laryngoscopy is examination of the throat using a small flexible camera, or endoscope. Laryngoscopy provides a view of the throat while a patient is performing normal actions such as breathing, speaking, coughing and swallowing.
Laryngoscopy may be performed through the nose or through the mouth.
Laryngoscopy through the nose uses a small thin endoscope. This is carefully passed through the nose, and then down behind the palate to examine the throat and larynx.
This may also be called ‘flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy’ or distal chip endoscopy – both of these procedures are the same in terms of what a patient feels. The difference is the technology in the camera or endoscope used for the examination.
Laryngoscopy through the mouth may use a rigid angled telescope. A patient is seated in a sniffing position with the chin and face forward as if smelling a flower. The examiner holds the patient’s tongue and the endoscope is placed through the mouth. Images are recorded and portrayed on a computer screen.
Laryngoscopy may be performed for a number of reasons including:
Pain in the throat
Evaluation of cancer extent or spread
Laryngoscopy is the key to detecting of most throat disorders. Benign conditions, such as cysts and polyps, are detected through laryngoscopy. Similarly, leukoplakia and cancers are noted during laryngoscopy as well.
Stroboscopy is an examination of the vocal folds during phonation, or the production of sound. Stroboscopy is a basic examination that is performed for every patient with a “hoarse” voice.
Stroboscopy works on the principal that vocal folds vibrate between 100 and 300 times a second during normal sound production. The higher the pitch produced, the more often vocal folds oscillate. During stroboscopy a small microphone is placed along an individual’s neck to detect the frequency of the vocal folds. A small camera is placed either through the nose or through the mouth just above the vocal folds. The strobe light then flashes on and off as often as the vocal folds vibrate. This allows the examiner to view the intracices of vocal fold vibration and detect abnormalities like vocal fold scar, cysts, and polyps.
A stroboscopic examination of the larynx is often called “videostroboscopy.”