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Diagnostic Laryngoscopy With or Without Esophagoscopy Under Anesthesia

This information will help you prepare for your diagnostic laryngoscopy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).

A diagnostic laryngoscopy with esophagoscopy is a procedure that allows your surgeon to look directly at your larynx (voice box) and esophagus (tube that goes from your mouth to your stomach). It is usually done as a 1-day procedure in the operating room. You will be given anesthesia which will put you to sleep so that your surgeon can have a clear view of the area. Your surgeon will be able to tell you what treatment you will need after this exam. If you have not already had a biopsy or sampling of the lesion(s), it will be done during this exam.

Before Your Procedure

Since you will be asleep, you must prepare for the laryngoscopy as if you were having surgery. Your nurse will give you a resource called Getting Ready for Surgery. It contains important information you will need to prepare for your procedure.

  • Some medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and vitamin E, can cause bleeding problems. Do not take medication that has them unless your doctor says it is ok.
    • Stop taking aspirin and vitamin E 10 days before your procedure
    • Stop taking ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) 2 days before your procedure

Your nurse will give you written information about what medications you can and cannot take.

  • You will receive a phone call the day before your procedure from an MSKCC staff member. He or she will tell you where you should go the morning of your procedure. There is a place to record this information in the Getting Ready for Surgery resource.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before yor procedure. This includes water, hard candy, and gum.

After you check in at the hospital, you will change into a hospital gown. Your nurse will explain what is going to happen and start an intravenous (IV) line. You will receive medication and fluid through this line during the procedure.

You may walk or be brought to the operating room in a wheelchair. Your anesthesiologist will place monitoring devices on you. Once you are asleep, your head will be tilted back. This gives the surgeon the best view of your larynx and the areas around it. A laryngoscope is inserted into your mouth and down your throat. It is attached to a small video camera that can enlarge the view. Your surgeon may also use a special microscope to see the lesion(s) better.

After Your Procedure

After your procedure, you will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). When you are fully awake and alert, you can go home. Your doctor may tell you before you leave what he or she saw. If biopsies were taken, it will take 4 to 5 days to get the results. Your doctor will tell you when to call for this information.

You may have a sore throat for several days if a biopsy was taken. Rinse your mouth and throat with warm salt water to help with any discomfort. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 quart of warm water. Gargle as often as you like. A humidifier may reduce the dryness in your throat and may help reduce swelling. If you usually take aspirin or products containing aspirin, you can start taking them again the day after the procedure.

Call Your Doctor if You:

  • Have a temperature of 101º F (38.3º C) or higher
  • Have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough up bright red blood (blood-tinged mucus is normal)

You will return to see your doctor in 5 to 7 days. At that time, your doctor will talk with you in detail about the treatment option that is best for you.