Direct Laryngoscopy and Biopsy
What Is It?
Laryngoscopy is a simple procedure that allows a doctor to view the voice box in the throat. The voice box or larynx and vocal cords allow you to sing and speak. Sometimes certain cells overgrow in this box and have to be removed. That is why we call a doctor. A doctor can conduct two different types of laryngectomy. An advanced indirect laryngoscopy can occur at your doctor’s office. If a handheld mirrors is held to the back of the throat the doctor can shine a light into your moth and wear a mirror on his or her head to reflect light (or they can just by a helmet with the light built in).
A better option is the direct fiber-optic laryngoscopy which uses a flexible or rigid laryngoscopy instrument. This procedure helps doctors find the cause for voice problems, ear pain, swallowing troubles, lumps in throats or narrowing of the throat.
During a direct rigid laryngoscopy, you will undergo general anesthesia. Because of this you are not able to eat or drink prior to the procedure for 8 to 12 hours depending on your doctor’s instructions. You will need someone to drop you off and pick you up for the procedure. If the procedure is a direct flexible laryngoscopy then the doctor will use a thin and flexible scope to view the throat. Some medications may be placed inside the throat to dry it up and help the doctor see better.
The scope will move from the nose to throat. During a rigid laryngoscopy, the doctor will have you lie down on a table in a surgical room. Most patients are under general anesthesia. The laryngoscope is placed down the throat to view the voice box. The doctor may use the laryngoscope to remove any obstructive objects in the throat and to gather a small tissue sample or several from the throat for a biopsy. Any polyps that exist on the voice box are removed.
Laser treatment of tissue may also be performed.
Alternatives to Surgery
A patient can try imaging studies to determine the extent of any damage to the larynx and follow up with some blood tests, but a laryngoscopy is the best way to get a clear picture of what is going on with the voice box.
Before The Operation
Before surgery you should avoid eating or drinking as this may make you ill. You should not wear any false teeth prior to surgery. You should also try to get a good night of sleep, as this will help boost your immune system. The better you feel the faster you will recover from any procedure no matter how minimally invasive.
After The Operation
Following surgery the doctor will provide you with ice to help with swelling and inflammation. Most patients will recover for a few hours before being sent home. Patients should rest their voices for the remaining day and should avoid drinking for roughly two hours following the procedure.
Some people may need to rest their voices for up to three days following the procedure, especially if the procedure involved removal of polyps etc. as the voice box will require time to heal.
There are some risks associated with a direct laryngoscopy including a risk of swelling that can become severe enough to block the air passages although with proper care this is unlikely. There is also a risk for the airway to become blocked from inflammation of the back of the throat,
Some patients may require a tracheotomy following surgery to help them breathe if they experience severe complications. Some patients may also experience an infection following the procedure which is more common in patients receiving a biopsy.
A laryngoscopy is an important procedure for anyone at risk for cancer of the larynx and related disorders. The procedure allows the doctor to review the vocal cords and voice box. It provides the doctor with an opportunity to take a biopsy of tissue and remove any polyps, tumors or any growths that may exist on the larynx.
If your doctor recommends a direct laryngoscopy make sure you talk to him or her about any special preparation you may need prior to surgery. Most patients recover well within a few days following surgery. People that are best suited for a direct rigid laryngoscopy include young children, individuals that have a strong gag reflex, individuals that have symptoms of laryngeal disorders or disease and people that have not responded well thus far for diagnosed diseases of the larynx.
Estimated Costs for Direct Laryngoscopy & Biopsy
The cost of surgery depends on an individual’s own circumstances. The costs may include a preliminary health and medical check and accommodations following surgery or for the first couple of hours following surgery until the patient recuperates. It is important you consider additional expenses if you plan to travel overseas for medical care including the cost of airfare, dining and related expenses.
Most patients undergoing a laryngoscopy will not be able to eat for a couple of days following surgery until they get used to the feel of their throats again so try not gorge on too many foods following your surgery until your stomach and eyes have caught up with each other.