A laryngoscopy investigation is an examination of your throat using a thin tube called a laryngoscope, which has a tiny light and lens on the tip. You might need one if you have been experiencing persistent problems with your throat or lost your voice suddenly.
The laryngoscope works like a telescope and is passed down your throat as far as your vocal cords and voice box (larynx), allowing your surgeon to examine your throat and take a tissue sample or to give treatment - laser surgery, for example - at the same time.
Laryngoscopy is a relatively safe and straightforward examination of your throat and can be used to investigate why you might have:
One form of laryngoscopy allows your surgeon to examine your throat, take a tissue sample or give treatment at the same time. It is usually done as a day-case procedure under general anaesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the examination.
Another form can be carried out using local anaesthesia, meaning you will be awake but won't feel any pain. This is more suited to check-ups and diagnosing problems than treatment.
Your surgeon will explain the benefits, risks of and alternatives to having a laryngoscopy. It is generally a very safe procedure and will usually give a clear diagnosis of your problem.
Since 2007 we've invested £500 million into our hospitals and staff; all of our patients can gain rapid access to some of the latest generation diagnostic imaging equipment and treatment.
All patients, either insured or paying for themselves, can gain rapid access to some of the latest generation diagnostic imaging and treatments.
You don't have to wait to have this test with us, so you can have your results in hand to quickly get on the right treatment path for your condition. We don't just offer diagnostics, but take an integrated medical approach and can organise any other care that you may need.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your mouth is held open and your surgeon will carefully pass the laryngoscope down your throat as far as your vocal cords and larynx.
The laryngoscope tube has a tiny light and lens on the tip and works like a telescope.
During the procedure, which usually takes about 20 minutes, your surgeon will examine the area and take a tissue sample if required. This will be sent to the laboratory for tests.
You will usually get your test results straight away and your surgeon will explain what the results mean and, if necessary, discuss further treatment options.
This type of procedure is carried out on a day care basis so it is unlikely that you will need to stay in hospital overnight.
If you were given a local anaesthetic or numbing spray during the examination, it will wear off in about 30 minutes. If you were given a general anaesthetic, you will be monitored as you wake up about two hours later. Sometimes you may need to stay in hospital overnight especially if you've had a general anaesthetic. You may feel sick or have muscle aches - and you will feel tired for a couple of days.
You should not eat or drink anything for around two hours after the procedure. (source: The Nemours Foundation)
If you had a general anaesthetic for the procedure, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
This type of procedure is not usually painful, but your throat will feel a little sore afterwards. You can gargle with salt water or suck on throat lozenges to ease this and pain medication will be given if needed.
You might notice some noisy breathing for a few days after the procedure but this is normal and will fade. You may also lose your voice temporarily but it should return within a couple of days.
A laryngoscopy investigation is a routine procedure and complications are rare. In most cases you will be treated and discharged in the same day but not before we are completely satisfied that you are fit to leave.
For the first few days after the procedure you might want to only eat soft foods or liquids, while your throat is a little sore.
If you had a biopsy taken during the procedure, you will need to rest your voice for around 10 days after the operation to allow your vocal cords to heal.
You will probably be able to return to work 48 hours after the procedure.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, you might want to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them if they can run some light errands such as shopping for you as you won’t be feeling up to it.
Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you. Your consultant is likely to want to see you after your operation to see how you're doing. We'll arrange a follow-up appointment before you leave the hospital.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Edinburgh Hospitals Murrayfield and Shawfair Park is only able to provide Covid-19 tests to patients undergoing surgery at our hospital. Covid-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service.