Flexible Nasopharyngoscopy/Laryngoscopy

What is a Flexible Nasopharyngoscopy?

Flexible nasopharyngoscopy, or “flexible scope”, is a test where a flexible lighted camera is placed through the nose to examine the nose, the area behind the nose, the back of the tongue and the throat and the voice box. This procedure is most commonly performed in the office with an awake patient, although it can be performed on a patient who is under anesthesia as well. In awake patients, this is one of the best ways to examine the larynx (voice box) and to look at the vocal cords and whether they are moving properly. This test does not allow evaluation of the respiratory tract below the vocal cords. As a result, a Laryngoscopy and Bronchoscopy also will be recommended.

Why would my child need a flexible scope?

There may be many reasons why a surgeon would recommend a flexible scope.

  • If there are concerns about noisy breathing or airway obstruction, this procedure allows visualization of the upper portions of the airway, which are often involved.
  • If there are concerns about hoarseness or the movement of the vocal cords, this test is the best way to see the vocal cords and their movement. Sometimes a Video Stroboscopy will be performed to better look at the vocal cords. 
  • If your child is having problems with swallowing or with eating certain foods, a swallowing test also can be performed while the scope is being performed. This is called a Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) Study.

When would you perform a flexible nasopharyngoscopy?

This procedure is most often performed in the office, and may be recommended during your child’s initial evaluation with a pediatric ENT surgeon at Nationwide Children’s.

A small amount of numbing medication may be applied in the nose in order to make the procedure more comfortable for your child. If it is not safe to use this medication or it will interfere with the desired results of the test, the numbing medication will not be used. Your child’s surgeon will talk to you about this option prior to performing the procedure.

The procedure is very brief and typically takes only a few minutes. It can be uncomfortable for the child, but is not painful. Your child’s surgeon will talk to you about other potential risks of a flexible scope before proceeding.

What should I expect after my child has a flexible nasopharyngoscopy?

Most commonly, there are no problems after a flexible scope is performed. There is typically no pain in the nose after the scope is removed.

On rare occasions, there can be a small amount of bleeding from the nose after the test is completed. If you have concerns after your child has had a flexible nasopharyngoscopy, please contact the ENT office or seek medical attention.

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