Direct Rigid Laryngoscopy: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Direct rigid laryngoscopy (say "lair-en-GOS-kuh-pee") is a procedure that lets your doctor look at your throat and voice box (larynx). The doctor used a tube, called a scope, to look deep into your throat. The doctor may have used the procedure to take a tissue sample (biopsy), remove growths from the vocal cords, or do other kinds of surgery or laser treatment in the throat. Or the procedure may have been done to remove an object that is stuck in your throat.

After the procedure, your throat may feel sore or slightly swollen for 2 to 5 days. You may sound hoarse for 1 to 8 weeks, depending on what was done during the procedure.

Your doctor may ask you to speak as little as possible for 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. If you speak, use your normal tone of voice and do not talk for very long. Whispering or shouting can strain your vocal cords as they are trying to heal. Try to avoid coughing or clearing your throat while your throat heals. These activities can also damage your vocal cords.

If the doctor took a sample of tissue for study, it is normal to spit up a small amount of blood after the procedure. Talk to your doctor about how much bleeding to expect and how long the bleeding may last.

If the doctor took a biopsy, the doctor or nurse will call you with the test results. It may take 2 to 5 days to get the results.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for at least 1 week or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • If your job requires you to use your voice, you may need to take 1 to 2 weeks off from work.

Diet

  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • If your throat is swollen or sore, drink clear fluids such as water, apple juice, and flavoured ice pops. Avoid hot drinks, soda pop, and citrus juices, such as orange juice. These may cause more swelling and pain.
  • Start out with cool, clear liquids; flavoured ice pops; and ice cream. Next, try soft foods like pudding, yogurt, canned or cooked fruit, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes. Do not eat hard or scratchy foods such as chips or raw vegetables until your throat has healed.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Throat care

  • Suck on throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water to help your sore throat.
  • For several weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay, try to avoid coughing or clearing your throat. If you feel like you need to clear your throat, try taking a few sips of water.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a lot of bleeding or have bleeding that lasts for 24 hours.
  • Your throat feels like it is swelling.
  • You hear a noise in your throat when you breathe, or it feels hard to breathe.
  • You feel like you cannot swallow.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have a fever over 38°C.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your voice is still hoarse after your follow-up appointment with your doctor.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 29, 2016