This article is on laryngoscopy which involves a Doctor looking at the voice box or larynx. This resource is open to everyone. Patients, Medical Students and Doctors may find this useful. The additional information shown in grey boxes provides more technical information intended for Medical Practitioners.

In order to understand this topic better you may also wish to read these other articles on related topics:

Voice box structure and function

Mouth and throat structure and function


What is laryngoscopy?

Laryngoscopy is a procedure typically done by ENT Surgeons that allows the doctor to see the back of the mouth, throat and voicebox. Typically, a thin, flexible tube with an attached light and view lens, called an endoscope, is inserted through the nose to examine the back of the nose and throat areas. To make the patient more comfortable, these examinations are performed using an anaesthetic spray to numb the area.


Who gets laryngoscopy?

Any patient who presents with nasal or throat symptoms such as discomfort or difficulty swallowing might benefit from a laryngoscopy as it’s a tool used for investigating nose or throat problems. It allows the doctor to see the breathing tubes all the way from the nose to the voice box.

What is a microlaryngoscopy?

In some situations, more information can be gained about the voice box by looking more closely at it with a microscope rather than an endoscope. Generally this is done under a full, general anaesthetic. It is usually a relatively quick procedure, completed entirely through the mouth without need for any cuts or bruises on the face or neck. It allows the Doctor to examine the voice box more closely and take samples from any areas that appear abnormal. Mostly this can be completed as a “day surgery” without the need for staying overnight in the hospital. To be able to do the procedure instruments have to be passed through the mouth, past the teeth, lips and tongue. On occasions there can be some bruising to the lips or tongue and on rare occasions some damage to the teeth can occur. Your Doctor will help you balance the risks of any procedure with the potential benefit.


Author + Affiliation:
Dr Tonye Onyemelukwe, ENT Registrar, Waikato Hospital.
Reviewed by Dr James Sanders, ENT Surgeon, Waikato Hospital.

Date of Publication + Review: 22 February 2022

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