Laryngoscopy is a big word that, unless you’re a throat specialist, you probably wouldn’t know. Laryngoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a throat specialist (officially called an otolaryngologist) to look at your larynx, or your voice box to determine its overall health. This procedure is normally done by an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or an ENT doctor.

Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat is an ENT clinic that specializes in diagnosing and treating problems with your ear, nose, and throat. From the common ear ache to stuffy nose, tinnitus, and dizziness, we can help. We have two convenient locations in Fort Collins and Loveland to serve your needs. Below, we’ll take a look at laryngoscopy and when you might need one. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


Your larynx, or voice box is located at the top of your trachea, or windpipe, which carries air from to and from your lungs. The purpose of your larynx is to produce sound and protect against food aspiration, or the accidental ingestion of food down your trachea and into your airways. This organ is what controls your voice, its pitch and volume, and allows you to make cool sounds like singing. Air passes through your larynx and over the vocal cords, producing sound — and the ability to speak.


For most people, when you visit the doctor, it’s because something is wrong. Thus, when you head to your local throat specialist such as Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat, it’s usually because your throat is hurting and you are unsure why. Therefore, laryngoscopy can allow the throat specialist to help diagnose some of the following complaints:

  • Persistent and lengthy cough
  • Persistent earache that needs further evaluation
  • A mass in the throat
  • Throat pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Problems with your voice


There are three ways to perform a laryngoscopy: indirect, direct, and direct fiber-optic.

Indirect Laryngoscopy

An indirect laryngoscopy is much less invasive than a direct laryngoscopy. Here, you’ll simply sit in a chair while your ENT specialist holds your tongue back. A numbing anesthetic will be sprayed on your throat. Next, a mirror will be inserted in your throat, and you may be asked to make sounds. A light is also used to see better. This is a way to remove a foreign object as well.

Direct Laryngoscopy

A direct laryngoscopy involves sedation. This method of laryngoscopy is usually performed if your throat doctor suspects cancer. A small telescope will be inserted either through your nose or mouth and then down your throat. Usually, your epiglottis is lifted, which is the flap of cartilage that covers your windpipe. A sample can then be taken and growths or objects removed if necessary. It is also used to remove polyps from the vocal cords. This may be required too if you gag easily. This procedure is also done in emergency situations where doctor’s need to insert a tube in your throat so you can breathe, like during surgery.

Direct Fiber-Optic Laryngoscopy

Direct fiber-optic laryngoscopy is the most common out of three. Taking less than 10 minutes, a small telescope is inserted up the nose and down the throat. Numbing medication is also administered. This throat procedure is preferred because your throat doctor can see everything and move the telescope to all locations for optimal viewing.

Possible Side Effects of Laryngoscopy To Be Aware Of

  • Bleeding
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling in your throat, mouth, and/or tongue
  • Gagging or vomiting
  • Infection
  • Reaction to the anesthesia
  • Bitter taste
  • Orders to limit speech
  • Refrain from singing for a specified amount of time


Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat cares about your well-being. Laryngoscopy is a great tool for ENT specialists to use in diagnosing and then treating any problems you may be experiencing pertaining to your throat. Your throat and larynx are vital to life. After all, you speak and breathe using organs and tissues in both, and it’s vital that you keep these areas healthy. Some simple ways to do so include drinking water to keep these areas moist and avoiding excessive alcohol, spicy foods, smoking, and regular cold medicine use. Using a humidifier, especially in dry Colorado, is highly recommended.

If you are troubled by any of the symptoms listed above, or you just want to get your ear, nose, and throat checked, give us a call today. We offer convenient locations in both Fort Collins and Loveland. Our ENT specialists believe in providing the highest-quality care possible while ensuring your health. For over 40 years, we’ve been proudly serving the residents of Northern Colorado with compassionate care, using the latest in technological advances. Schedule an ear, nose, or throat appointment today!