What is Laryngology? What is a Videostroboscopy? We offer it for both adults and children.
What is Laryngology?
Laryngology is a subspecialty within the branch of medicine called otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat). Illness and other conditions that affect the larynx, also known as the voice box, are addressed in the field of laryngology. The voice box is a small area of highly specialized tissue that is responsible for sound production and swallowing. It is found at the opening of our windpipe and plays a critical role in breathing, as well. Injury and illness can damage and even cause detrimental effects on the larynx, and thus one’s voice. Treatment for conditions of the larynx and vocal cords vary, depending on the cause of the injury, one’s age and profession.
Within the field of laryngology are various tests to identify abnormalities and specific conditions of the larynx. One that we offer for both our adult and pediatric patients is videostroboscopy. Currently, videostroboscopy is the gold-standard for diagnosing laryngeal disorders.
What is videostroboscopy?
Videostroboscopy incorporates cutting-edge technology to aid in the identification of various laryngeal conditions and abnormalities. Through the magnified view of a camera, laryngologists are able to observe in slow-motion the vibrations of the vocal cords which helps them identify any structural or functional abnormalities.
This procedure is completed by using either a rigid endoscope inserted down through the mouth or with a flexible endoscope passed down through the nose. The rigid endoscope consists of a steel metal rod, much like a telescope. While holding the tongue out of the way, the rigid scope is inserted down along the tongue towards the back of the mouth. With the scope in place, you will be asked to produce a variety of sounds at different pitches and loudness levels. The procedure lasts only a few minutes and although slightly uncomfortable, it is not usually painful. The entire exam is digitally recorded, allowing everyone involved to view the video following completion. In the rare event that a patient cannot tolerate the oral scope, topical anesthesia may be applied to minimize a sensitive gag reflex.
If a flexible endoscope is used, it is typically passed up into the nasal cavity and then down through the back of the throat and suspended above the vocal cord. Because the nose is highly sensitive, topical numbing ointment is typically used in this procedure. The rest of the exam is completed the same as described above with the rigid scope.
A voice evaluation can be combined with a videostroboscopy if a voice disorder is being investigated. A thorough review of the video will often reveal structural abnormalities or dysfunctional cords that are contributing to the condition.
This procedure is done safely in-office and requires minimal preparation and no downtime.