Air Evaluation

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Microlaryngoscopy & Bronchoscopy

What is an airway evaluation?

There are a number of different methods to help evaluate a child's airway. This includes a physical exam, special x-rays, or sometimes the use of equipment to look at the airway directly. Your physician may have sent you to us for a formal airway endoscopy which includes microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy.

What are the reasons the airway may need to be looked at directly?

There are two main reasons to look at the airway directly requiring the use of endoscopy.

  1. The first reason is to diagnose a problem. An example of this would be to evaluate stridor or noisy breathing. Looking at the airway directly will help make an accurate diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment can be carried out.
  2. The second reason to directly look at the airway is to treat a problem. A good example of this is the removal of foreign bodies in the airway. The object's location can be directly visualized, and then special tools can be accurately placed to grab the object and pull it out.

What is involved with a microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy?

These two procedures are almost always performed in a hospital with the patient under general anesthesia. With the head tilted back to make the airway as straight as possible, a laryngoscope is placed in the mouth to look at the larynx (voice box). This instrument also helps push the tongue out of the way. The involved area is visualized and then the view can be magnified using an endoscope or microscope. Microlaryngoscopy gives the surgeon the ability to view the larynx (voice box) in detail. This is vitally important because even very small changes in the voice box can produce large changes in a child's voice. Once the airway is visualized it is possible to then insert a longer metal tube called a bronchoscope. This tube can be inserted past the vocal cords and into the trachea (windpipe) all the way down to the lungs. Through this bronchoscope your surgeon can then use special tools, including instruments to remove foreign bodies , or small cameras to get detailed pictures of the airway.

What is flexible laryngoscopy?

Sometimes a special flexible scope can be used to help identify a problem in the airway. This procedure can often be performed in the office setting with a small amount of numbing medicine and a cooperative child. A small scope is carefully placed through the nostril and inserted far enough back until it can see down into the throat. While this procedure is relatively painless and can offer some excellent additional information, the exam is limited and your surgeon may still recommend a full airway evaluation in the operating room.

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Clinic Locations

Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic
University Hospital Clinics Building
1005 Harborside Drive
Galveston, Texas

Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants
Brittany Plaza
1600 West League City Parkway, Suite D
League City, Texas

Texas FamilyHealth Clinic
Mainland Crossing
9300 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway
Texas City, Texas

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