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Flexible Laryngoscopy

What Is A Flexible Laryngoscopy?

  • A flexible laryngoscope is a fiber optic scope or camera that gives a doctor a closer look at the nose, throat, and voice box.
  • The scope itself consists of an eyepiece, and a fiber optic light that is tiny enough to be placed in a small tube that will fit inside the nasal passageway.
  • This scope improves the doctors ability to get a quick look at the back of the throat, nose, or vocal cords with little effect on the patient.
  • The scope is typically used without any medication at all; however, decongestants and topical anesthetic may be needed if the nose is stuffy, leaving the nasal passageway swollen.
  • A doctor can use a flexible laryngoscope in office, and the examination only takes five to 10 minutes to complete.

Why Would a Otolaryngologist Use This Device?

  • Doctors use this test with intent of finding the source to any of the symptoms a patient is experiencing. Most common uses are for infection, inflammation, abnormalities or foreign objects.
  • Some of the symptoms that might lead a otolaryngologist to use a flexible laryngoscopy are:  
    • Persistent Ear Pain
    • Difficulty Swallowing
    • Difficulty Breathing
    • Chronic Cough
    • Coughing Up Blood
    • Mass in the Head or Neck
    • Voice Problems that last more than 3 weeks.
  • A flexible laryngoscopy examination can additionally be used to collect a sample of tissue to be tested under a microscope, or to remove an item that is blocking an airway.

What Technology Do Doctors Use?

  • Many doctors like to use the Olympus ENF-GP fiber rhinolaryngoscope. This scope produces high resolution images that give otolaryngologists a good understanding of what the patient needs as a treatment to his or her symptoms.
  • This device specifically is extremely portable. It is compatible with many additional fiber optic parts. One being the EndoLED, a light that makes the image even more visible.

Can Children Be Examined With This Scope?

  • A laryngoscopy is a safe way for doctors to take a closer look at a child’s throat, vocal cords, and nose as well.
  • Older children typically have no problem with the laryngoscopy, but some younger children aren’t as comfortable. If this is the case, the doctor can make a decision to use a topical anesthetic that will only numb up the nose, try a decongestant to allow swelling to reduce, or do a different examination called upper aerodigestive tract endoscopy under general anesthesia.
  • A parent can prepare for the examination by helping his or her child remain calm before and during. The test can also engage the gag reflex; therefore, coming in on a full stomach isn’t ideal.
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