What is Laryngoscopy?
Laryngoscopy is a diagnostic procedure to visualise the larynx. Larynx is the organ for speech. It is also known as “the voice box” in common language. It acts as the guardian of the airway. Larynx is located behind and below the tongue. It’s a difficult area to visualise, therefore, many methods have been devised to inspect it.
What are the various methods of laryngoscopy?
Various methods are:
- Direct Laryngoscopy : It is usually done under general anaesthesia and utilises a special laryngoscope that allows inspection of larynx under direct vision.
- Indirect Laryngoscopy : This is done under effect of local anaesthetic spray, it uses a special mirror with the help of which a reflection of larynx can be seen by the physician.
- Video-endoscope assisted laryngoscopy : An endoscope with an attached camera for image and video capture are used to visualise the larynx under effect of a local anaesthetic.
When is laryngoscopy advised?
An ENT specialist may advise the procedure when a pathology of larynx or hypo-pharynx is suspected.
These include change in voice, swallowing difficulty, history of accidental foreign body ingestion, laryngo-pharyngeal reflux.
What should you know before getting laryngoscopy done?
Its a non-invasive and safe procedure, however, many patients may find it difficult without local anaesthesia due to a normal reflex in all of us called ‘Gag Reflex’. Patients should ask their doctor about it. The second factor that patient should be aware about is that local anaethesia is very safe but it leaves an odd empty sensation for about 20 to 45 mins. One should not drink or eat during this time.
What are the benefits of Video-endoscope assisted laryngoscopy?
It is the most well tolerated amongst the three methods. It allows for video and image capture, which are great tools for patient education and for documentation of any pathology. These images or videos can be readily made available for cross reference.