Microlaryngoscopy and Panendoscopy

Microlaryngoscopy is examination of the larynx, or voice box, under a general anaesthetic. This can be done for a variety of reasons including biopsy of suspicious areas, removal of lesions or injections to augment the vocal folds.

Panendoscopy includes microlaryngoscopy as well as examination of the throat and upper oesophagus, and possibly the trachea.

What to expect

The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, most often as day surgery. After the surgery you will have a sore throat but it isn’t usually severe. If local anaesthetic has been used you may need to avoid eating and drinking until it has worn off – the recovery staff will advise you on this.

Voice rest may be recommended depending on the procedure. If complete voice rest is advised, this means no speaking including whispering, usually for 24-48 hours and you will need to write things down to communicate. Generally, after this period we recommend avoiding shouting or whispering for 5-7 days.

What are the risks?

Injury to the teeth, gums, lips or tongue including the possibility of chipped, broken or dislodged teeth.

Voice change – temporary voice change is very common after laryngeal surgery and is often the aim of treatment. However, there is a risk of the voice becoming worse which can be due to scarring or very rarely nerve injury, and this can be temporary or permanent.

Airway blockage due to swelling of the tissues of the airway or bleeding – this is rare but could result in needing either a breathing tube through the mouth or, very rarely, a tube inserted through the front of the neck (tracheostomy).

Persistence or recurrence of the original disease – some of the diseases in the larynx have a tendency to recur – your ENT surgeon will advise you if this is expected.

Perforation or rupture of the oesophagus (only during panendoscopy, this isn’t a risk in microlaryngoscopy alone) – can lead to serious infection in the neck or chest needing further surgical procedures and a prolonged hospital stay, and can be life threatening.