Digital videostroboscopy is an endoscopic procedure performed to evaluate the function of the larynx (voice box) and vocal cords. Performed in the doctor’s office, this minimally invasive examination facilitates the diagnosis of various conditions that may cause hoarseness, swallowing problems or acid reflux. Digital videostroboscopy, a recently perfected technique, is an excellent diagnostic tool, helping to assess both voice and airway function. During the procedure, the physician is able to observe anatomical irregularities, abnormal growths, and ineffective vocal cord vibrations. With the stroboscope, the physician is able to visualize the vibrations of the vocal cords in slow motion as the patient speaks.
The fact that the vibrations appear as slowed-down images give the physician the advantage of being able to assess abnormalities more precisely and allows more accurate insights into the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Stroboscopy also makes possible a comparison of vocal cord vibration before and after treatment. In addition, this method can be used to monitor endoscopic procedures for sinus or otoscopic examinations or repairs.
The Digital Videostroboscopy Procedure
Before the endoscope is inserted, the patient’s nasal passages are numbed with a local anesthetic. Once the tube is inserted through the patient’s nasal cavity into the throat, the endoscope is positioned close to the vocal cords. Using a rhythmically flashing light passed through the tube, a miniature video camera records images as the patient vocalizes. Not only can these images be viewed in real time, they can be recorded for later scrutiny.
While the digital videostroboscopy is generally a painless procedure, some patients may experience an uncomfortable gagging sensation or the urge to swallow. There is no recovery time necessary after this procedure which only lasts for 10 to 15 minutes. Patients can return to their normal activities as soon as the videostroboscopy is over.