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What is a Direct Laryngoscopy?

A direct laryngoscopy is a procedure that involves the use of a laryngoscope, a special tube-like instrument which allows your doctor to directly visualize your larynx, also known as the voice box, which is in the back of your throat. The larynx contains your vocal cords and helps with talking, swallowing, and breathing.

Indications for a Direct Laryngoscopy

Direct laryngoscopy may be indicated in the following conditions:

  • Airway blockage
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Stricture or narrowing within the throat
  • Throat pain
  • Persistent coughing
  • To obtain a biopsy

Preparation for a Direct Laryngoscopy

Specific instructions will be provided by your surgeon. In general, you should:

  • Inform your surgeon about any health conditions, allergies, and medications you are taking.
  • Blood-thinners and certain other medications may need to be stopped several days before the procedure.
  • Follow the pre-surgery dietary restrictions.

Direct Laryngoscopy Procedure

  • The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
  • The laryngoscope is a tube-like instrument that may be rigid or flexible and is used to push down the tongue and lift up the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage that covers the larynx.
  • Access is gained to the larynx allowing the surgeon to directly view to the tissues.
  • A biopsy can also be performed on suspicious growths within the larynx.

Recovery after a Direct Laryngoscopy

  • You may require 1 to 2 hours to recover from the general anesthesia before being discharged home.
  • There may be temporary throat discomfort. Your surgeon will provide medications to alleviate symptoms as necessary.
  • For the first 24-48 hours you should keep your head elevated at 30 to 45-degree angle with pillows when lying down.
  • Follow the voice rest limit as prescribed by your surgeon.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and eat soft foods until your throat pain has resolved.
  • Keep your follow-up visits as recommended to ensure a positive surgical outcome.

Risks Associated with a Direct Laryngoscopy

Direct laryngoscopy is a very safe procedure that can help diagnose and treat problems related to your voice box; however, as with any other surgery, there is a minimal risk of complications that include infection, bleeding, delayed healing, and trouble swallowing.