Flexible Laryngoscopy

Flexible laryngoscopy is a procedure for evaluating the vocal cords function. The function of vocal cords is also evaluated before and after the thyroid surgery to determine the mobility of both vocal cords. The procedure is done under local anesthesia in order for the patient to be able to speak and the ability for the physician to see the mobility of vocal cords while the patient is speaking. Some neck cancers, including thyroid, can result in paralysis of vocal cords, and this is the reason why they have to be evaluated before the surgery.

If you are scheduled for a flexible laryngoscopy performed by an endocrine surgeon as an office outpatient procedure, here's a guide to help you understand what to expect:
Before the Procedure:

Pre-Procedure Instructions:
Follow any specific pre-procedure instructions provided by the surgeon's office. This may include restrictions on eating or drinking before the procedure.

Medication Review:
Inform the surgeon about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

During the Appointment:
Arrive at the surgeon's office and check in with the front desk.
Consent Form:
You may be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the procedure and its potential risks.
Discussion with the Surgeon:
The surgeon will meet with you to discuss the procedure, answer any questions you may have, and address any concerns.
Patient Positioning:
You will be positioned comfortably, either seated or lying down, depending on the setup in the office.
Numbing Agent:
The surgeon may apply a local anesthetic to your nasal passages to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
Flexible Laryngoscopy:
The surgeon will gently insert the flexible laryngoscope through one of your nostrils and guide it to the back of your throat to visualize the larynx.
Visualization and Examination:
The surgeon will examine your larynx and vocal cords, assessing their function and looking for any abnormalities.
Real-Time Feedback:
You may receive real-time feedback from the surgeon during the procedure, and they may ask you to perform certain vocal tasks.
The procedure is typically brief and usually lasts only a few minutes.

After the Procedure:
You may experience mild discomfort, a sensation of having something in your throat, or a temporary change in voice. This is normal and should be resolved shortly.
Discussion of Findings:
The surgeon will discuss their findings with you immediately after the procedure. If necessary, they will provide recommendations for further evaluation or treatment.
Post-Procedure Instructions:
You will receive any necessary post-procedure instructions, including information on resuming normal activities and any potential restrictions, such as no drinking or eating fo about 30 min after the procedure.

Additional Considerations:
No Sedation:
Flexible laryngoscopy is typically performed without sedation in an office setting, allowing you to resume normal activities after the procedure.
Comfort Measures:
The surgeon and their staff will ensure your comfort throughout the procedure, addressing any concerns you may have.
Feel free to communicate with the surgeon during the procedure if you have any discomfort or questions.
Remember that this guide provides general information, and your experience may vary. Always feel free to ask questions or express any concerns you may have to ensure a positive and comfortable experience.

Flexible laryngoscope

Vocal cords: open (on the left), closed (on the right)