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Visual examination of the interior of the voice box (the larynx) to determine the cause of hoarseness, obtain cultures, remove a foreign body, manage the upper airway, or take biopsies of potentially malignant lesions.

Short-acting intravenous sedation or anesthesia is administered along with oxygen. Vital signs and cardiac status are monitored throughout the procedure. After the procedure, the patient is placed in the semi-Fowler position, and vital signs are monitored until stable. Oral intake is withheld until the patient's swallowing reflex has returned, usually within 2 to 8 hr. An emesis basin is provided for saliva. Sputum is inspected for blood. Excessive bleeding is reported. Application of an ice collar helps to minimize edema; subcutaneous crepitus around the face or neck should be reported immediately because it may indicate tracheal perforation. The patient should not cough or clear the throat for at least 24 hr to minimize irritation. Smokers who undergo laryngoscopy should be encouraged to quit; preparation for the procedure and after-procedure care provide teachable moments.

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  • 1. Visualization of the larynx is associated with aerosolization of upper airway secretions. Standard precautions and droplet precautions are required during the procedure to limit the spread of infectious diseases such as severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARS) or tuberculosis.
  • 2. Laser safety precautions must be employed when lasers are used.

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