Laryngoscopy: Facts You Should Know

If you've experienced persistent problems with your ears, nose, or throat, you may need a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. These doctors can investigate, diagnose, and treat some of the most common problems found with these areas of the body. One of the most common ways the ENT doctor can make an accurate diagnosis is by performing something called a laryngoscopy. Before you see the ENT, here are some things you should know about the procedure so you can be prepared.

Why it is Needed

The ear, nose, and throat doctor may perform a laryngoscopy if you've experienced a cough that is frequent and not subsiding, or you have had serious throat pain or even bleeding in the throat. Other reasons the test is performed is if you've dealt with swelling of the throat or even a narrowing or blockage of the throat area. They may also need to perform the test in order to get a biopsy of the throat area for further testing. Earaches can also be properly diagnosed and treated after performing a laryngoscopy.


The indirect form of laryngoscopy is typically done using a small, extended mirror. The ENT doctor will use the mirror to get a better view inside of the throat. They can often make a quick diagnosis simply based on the visual image they see from deep inside the throat. The doctor can also take a closer look at the vocal chords and larynx. Using a special light, they usually get a clear picture of what is happening with your throat using the indirect method.

Fiber Optic/Flexible/Direct

The direct method for performing a laryngoscopy is a bit more involved. This process involves using a telescope to go deeper into the throat, and is more commonly used to diagnose more serious problems or issues that cannot easily be pinpointed using the indirect method. The fiber optic telescope method is more commonly done when surgery is needed, as it helps the ENT see remotely using the rigid telescope with a small camera installed on the end.

Preparing for Laryngoscopy

Before the scheduled test, be sure you ask your doctor any questions you may have. Let them know if you have any allergies or if you're dealing with other symptoms that could effect the outcome of the laryngoscopy. You may be asked to abstain from eating or drinking a few hours before the test, and this is most often requested when the ENT is using the direct method using a telescope. These tests can help your doctor get a clearer picture of what is happening to your ears or throat, and will allow them to make an effective diagnosis.