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Laryngoscopy

How It Feels

Indirect laryngoscopy

You may feel like gagging when the mirror is placed in your throat. It may be uncomfortable when the doctor pulls on your tongue. If this becomes painful, signal your doctor by pointing to your tongue, since you will not be able to speak. If a spray anesthetic is used, it tastes bitter, it can make you feel like your throat is swollen, and it may make you feel that it is hard to swallow.

Direct flexible laryngoscopy

It may feel strange to have the doctor put the scope up your nose. But it should not hurt and you will still be able to breathe. If a spray anesthetic is used, it may taste bitter. The anesthetic can also make you feel like your throat is swollen. You can swallow normally but you may not feel it.

Direct rigid laryngoscopy

You will be asleep and feel nothing during the laryngoscopy. After the procedure, you may have some nausea, general muscle aches, and may feel tired for 1 to 2 days. You also may have a sore throat and sound hoarse. Suck on throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water to help your sore throat.

If a biopsy was taken, it is normal to spit up a small amount of blood after the laryngoscopy. Talk to your doctor about how much bleeding to expect and how long the bleeding may last. Call your doctor immediately if:

  • You have a lot of bleeding or if the bleeding lasts for 24 hours.
  • You have any trouble breathing.

Risks

All types of laryngoscopy have a small chance of causing swelling and blocking the airway. If you have a partially blocked airway because of tumors, polyps, or severe inflammation of the tissues at the back of the throat (epiglottitis), you may have a higher chance of problems.

If complete blockage of the airway occurs, which is rare, your doctor may need to put a tube in your throat to help you breathe. Or, very rarely, your doctor may have to make a cut (incision) in your neck (a tracheotomy).

If a biopsy was taken, there is a very small chance of bleeding, infection, or a tear in the airway.

Results

Laryngoscopy is an examination that lets your doctor look at the back of your throat, your voice box (larynx), and vocal cords with a scope (laryngoscope). If a biopsy was done, it may take several days for your doctor to know the results.

Laryngoscopy
Normal:

The throat (larynx) does not have swelling, an injury, narrowing (strictures), or foreign bodies. Your vocal cords do not have scar tissue, growths (tumors), or signs of not moving correctly (paralysis).

Abnormal:

Your larynx has inflammation, injury, strictures, tumors, or foreign bodies. Your vocal cords have scar tissue or signs of paralysis.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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