Direct laryngoscopy is the process of examining the larynx (voice box) and vocal folds. Because the larynx is deep in the throat, it cannot be examined easily. Your doctor or speech-language pathologist (SLP) may look at your larynx in one of two ways using special instruments.
The first way to exam your larynx is rigid laryngoscopy. This involves inserting a small rigid camera scope to the back of your mouth to look down at your larynx. You will then perform a variety of tasks including breathing, holding out an “e” sound, pitch glides and other assessments.
The second way for your clinician to evaluate your larynx is with flexible laryngoscopy. In this evaluation your doctor or SLP will insert a very thin, flexible camera scope through your nose and into your throat. This gives a “birds-eye view” of your larynx and surrounding structures. During the flexible laryngoscopy, you will perform different tasks including speaking, breathing, and voicing.
Laryngoscopy is a straight-forward in-office procedure that does not require anesthesia or special precautions. You do not need to do any preparation or stop eating or drinking prior to these tests. For flexible laryngoscopy, topical numbing gel or sprays may be used to increase comfort. The procedures will only last around 1-2 minutes.