Microlaryngoscopy is the examination of your larynx (voice box) whilst you are asleep (under a general anaesthetic). It is performed to diagnose and treat problems of the voice box, such as hoarseness. A short metal tube (a laryngoscope) is placed through the mouth into the voice box (larynx). A microscope is then used to look into the voice box to find what the problem is. If needed, surgery on your voice box (such as removal of vocal cord nodules) can be performed via the laryngoscope.
If there are any areas that look suspicious for early cancer, a small sample (biopsy) taken for laboratory (histological) examination. Depending on the type of lesion a laser may be used. Microlaryngoscopy is quite a short operation and usually takes less than 30 minutes. It is performed as a day case procedure.
How will I feel after the operation?
After microlaryngoscopy you may find that your throat hurts. This is because of the metal tubes that are passed through your throat to examine the voice box. Any discomfort settles quickly with simple painkillers and usually only lasts a day or two. Some patients feel their neck is slightly stiff after the operation. If you have a history of neck problems, you should inform the surgeon about this before your operation. After laryngoscopy, your voice may sound worse, especially if any biopsies have been taken. This should be temporary until the lining of the voice box heals.
You can eat and drink later in the day of your surgery. If a biopsy of the voice box has been performed then voice rest is advised. Ideally this is no voice use at all for 3 days, then very limited voice rest for a further 4 days. You should therefore be off work for at leas one week after your surgery. You will be given antacid medications such as lansoprazole to use after your surgery for up to 6 weeks. This helps with healing. Also speech and language therapy is arranged after your surgery. This helps with voice recovery.
Microlaryngoscopy is very safe. You may have a slightly sore throat afterwards. Very rarely, there is a risk that the metal tubes may chip your teeth. Your surgeon uses a gum guard to help prevent this happening.
You will be told what was found at the time of your surgery. Biopsy results can take up to a week to get back from the laboratory. If biopsies have been taken you will be seen in clinic one week after your operation, to review these results.