Direct Rigid Laryngoscopy: Before Your Procedure

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What is direct rigid laryngoscopy?

Direct rigid laryngoscopy (say "lair-en-GOS-kuh-pee") is a type of procedure. A doctor uses a tube called a scope to look deep into your throat and voice box (larynx).

The doctor may do this procedure for many reasons. He or she may want to take a tissue sample. This is called a biopsy. Or he or she may remove growths from your vocal cords. Sometimes the doctor removes an object stuck in the throat. Other times, the procedure lets the doctor perform other surgery or laser treatment.

You will be asleep during the procedure. The doctor puts the scope in your mouth. Then he or she guides it to the back of your throat.

You will probably go home the same day. But if you have surgery on your vocal cords, you may need to spend the night in the hospital. Most people can go back to work or their usual activities within a week.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

    Do not eat or drink for 8 hours before the procedure. Rigid laryngoscopy is done with a general anesthetic.
    Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
    Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
    If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
    Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
    Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
    Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
    You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the procedure.
    The procedure will take about 10 to 90 minutes.
    You may have an ice pack on your throat. This is to prevent swelling.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.