Fiberoptic Laryngoscopy

Fiberoptic laryngoscopy is a common and well tolerated office procedure utilizing anesthetic spray, usually requiring only a few minutes. Fiberoptic laryngoscopy uses either a flexible or rigid scope, or camera, that passes through your nose. The fiberoptic scope can evaluate the nose, throat, and larynx, or voice box, to determine whether any visible pathology exists with the use of the fiberoptic scope.

What can the fiberoptic laryngoscopy diagnose?

The fiberoptic scope can diagnose laryngopharyngeal reflux disease or LPRD, that can cause symptoms such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, a lump sensation in the throat, a cough, or others. On the scope examination, the physician will be able to visualize redness or swelling caused by reflux, which means “backward or return flow”, of stomach acid that returns back into the esophagus or throat.

Vocal cord nodules, most often caused by strain on the vocal cords, can also be seen using a fiberoptic scope. Symptoms of vocal cord nodules are most often hoarseness, or a “raspy voice”, as the nodule or nodules prevent the vocal cords from closing properly, emitting air escape and a hoarse voice. Depending on the type of nodule, it can occasionally be beneficial to obtain a biopsy to determine the pathology of the nodule, which would be performed in the operating room by the physician. Treatments for vocal cord nodules would most often be voice rehabilitation with a speech therapist. Less commonly, surgery may be needed for removal.

For more information on LPRD, you may refer to the Voice & Swallowing Evaluation page.

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