A test to look at the inside of your nose, throat and voice box, all in one procedure
What is a naso-pharyngoscopy?
A nasopharyngoscopy is a diagnostic test used to look at the inside of your nose, throat (pharynx) and voice box (larynx).
A nasopharyngoscopy involves inserting a thin, flexible tube known as a nasoendoscope through the nose and passing to your throat. It has a video camera and light on the end, and your consultant can view the images on a screen.
Nasopharyngoscopies are used to help your consultant make an accurate diagnosis. They may also have a channel in the tube that your consultant can use to pass additional instruments through, to take a biopsy (small tissue sample). This will happen during the same examination if required.
Our consultants are experts in diagnosing a range of conditions affecting the head and neck and will aim to provide you with answers as quickly as possible.
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Why would I need a naso-pharyngoscopy?
A nasopharyngoscopy is a routine diagnostic test to help investigate symptoms that are affecting the nose, throat and voice box, such as:
- A lump in your throat
- Loss of smell
- Speaking difficulties (dysphonia)
- Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)
Your consultant can also use a nasoendoscope to carry out a biopsy (to remove a small sample of tissue for investigation), minimally invasive surgery or monitor how successful previous treatments have been.
What happens during a naso-pharyngoscopy?
At the start of the procedure, your consultant will ask you to sit up straight and will spray a local anaesthetic to numb your nose and throat. You may have to wait for a few minutes for the anaesthetic to take effect.
When you’re ready, the nasoendoscope will be inserted into one nostril and slowly advanced through your nasal cavity and down to your throat and voice box. Your consultant will ask you to perform a few tasks during the procedure, such as swallowing, puffing out your cheeks, or saying certain words or phrases. This will help us make a better assessment of your symptoms.
Your consultant may take one or more biopsy samples from the lining of the nasal cavity, throat or voice box as part of the examination. This will depend on why you’re receiving the test and won’t cause you any pain.
When your consultant has finished the examination, they’ll gently remove the nasoendoscope.
When will I get my nasopharyngoscopy results?
We know that waiting for a test result can be a worrying time. Your consultant can immediately tell you what they’ve seen and plan any future tests or investigations. A copy of your results will be shared with your GP, and we’ll contact you to arrange an appointment to discuss them with you.
There are no special preparations needed for your nasopharyngoscopy. You’ll just need to let us know if you’re allergic to anaesthetics.
The procedure should take no longer than a few minutes, but it may take a little longer if your consultant is taking some biopsies.
The procedure is performed with a local anaesthetic so you shouldn’t experience any pain. However, you may find it a little uncomfortable when your consultant passes the nasoendoscope through your nose, and it may cause your eyes to water.
If you had a local anaesthetic spray, you shouldn’t eat or drink until the effects have worn off and your throat feels normal again. This shouldn’t take longer than an hour, and you’ll be able to eat and drink as usual.
Nasopharyngoscopies are routinely performed without any issues. Your consultant will explain any potential complications of a nasopharyngoscopy and advise on managing problems before you go ahead with the procedure. You’ll also be given plenty of time to ask any questions.
Possible side effects include:
- Soreness in your nose or throat
- Coughing spasms
These side effects are uncommon and should not last longer than a couple of minutes after the procedure.