This page will give you information about a laryngoscopy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.
What is a laryngoscopy?
A laryngoscopy is a procedure to look at your voice box (larynx) using a rigid telescope.
What are the benefits of a laryngoscopy?
Your doctor is concerned that you may have a problem in your larynx. A laryngoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem.
For some people minor treatments can be performed at the same time.
Are there any alternatives to a laryngoscopy?
Your doctor has recommended a laryngoscopy as it is the best way of diagnosing most problems with your larynx.
Your doctor will usually have looked at your larynx using a flexible telescope (endoscope) or a smaller rigid telescope.
What does the procedure involve?
A laryngoscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 30 minutes.
Your surgeon will place a rigid telescope (laryngoscope) into the back of your mouth to examine your larynx. Sometimes they will use a microscope to get close-up views. Your surgeon may be able to remove small problems from your larynx using surgical instruments or a laser. If you have a lump, they will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.
What complications can happen?
- sore throat
- breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
- making a hole in your tongue or the lining of your throat
- damage to teeth or bridgework, or bruised gums
- change in taste
- developing a hoarse voice
- airway fire
How soon will I recover?
You will usually recover in about 2 hours. Once you are able to swallow properly, you will be given a drink.
If your doctor performed a biopsy, you may need to stay overnight and wait until the next morning before being given a drink. You may need to rest your voice for the first few days.
You should be able to return to work after a few days.
The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the laryngoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
A laryngoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your larynx.
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Last reviewed: September 2018