What is a Flexible Nasopharyngoscopy?
This 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. It can also be called a “Flexible Nasopharyngoscopy” or “Flexible Scope”. This procedure is most commonly performed in the office with an awake child, although it can be performed on a patient who is under anesthesia as well. In an awake patient, this is on 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, and so sometimes, another test called a Laryngoscopy and Bronchoscopy will also be recommended.
Why would my child need a flexible scope?
There might be many reasons that your Surgeon would recommend this test. 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 can also 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. Your Surgeon will discuss this recommendation with you, and why it is being recommended prior to performing the test, to ensure it is done as comfortably as possible for you and your child.
Sometimes, a small amount of numbing medication can be applied in the nose in order to make the procedure more comfortable for your child. At other times, it is not safe to use this medication, or it will interfere with the desired results of the test. Your Surgeon will talk to you about this option prior to performing the procedure. The procedure is very brief (typically only a few minutes). It can be uncomfortable, but is not painful. Your 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 scope is completed. If you have concerns after your child has had a flexible nasopharyngoscopy, please contact the ENT office or seek medical attention.