Laryngoscopy is the visual exam of the voice box, also called the larynx, and the vocal cords. There are two main kinds:

  • Indirect laryngoscopy—uses mirrors to examine the larynx and hypopharynx, which is a portion of the passageway to the lungs and stomach
  • Direct laryngoscopy—uses a special instrument, most often a flexible scope

Both procedures are usually done in the office.

The Larynx
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Laryngoscopy is used to examine and diagnose problems inside the throat. It is most often done:

  • To assist in intubation to help with breathing for surgery or serious illness
  • To diagnose the cause of a persistent cough, bloody cough, hoarseness, throat pain, or bad breath
  • To evaluate reasons for difficulty swallowing
  • To evaluate a possible cause for persistent earache
  • To remove a foreign object
  • To visualize a mass in the throat
  • To biopsy tissue inside the throat
  • To remove polyps inside the throat