An endoscope is a small and thin (less than the size of a pencil) viewing tube with a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other end. It is used to look through small holes into larger spaces. Endoscopes are used by many types of doctors to evaluate not only the sinuses but also the lungs, stomach, and other areas.
Nasal endoscopy allows a detailed examination of the nasal and sinus cavities. During the endoscopy, we will look for areas of swelling in the mucosal membranes, for the presence of pus draining from the sinus openings, for enlargement of the turbinates, and for the presence of polyps. If pus is seen, it may be sampled to determine what organism is causing the infection. Nasal endoscopy is the most important diagnostic exam that the doctor will need to determine what may be causing sinus problems.
The procedure is performed in the office and is extremely well tolerated and is performed on adults and children who are able to cooperate with the exam. Prior to passing the scope, the patient’s nose is decongested and anesthetized with topical sprays. The patient then sits in a semi-reclined position and the scope is gently passed through the nasal cavity to the back of the nose. This exam allows a complete and detailed visualization of all nasal mucosa, nasal turbinates, openings into the sinuses, and nasopharynx. There are no lasting side effects to this procedure and the anesthetic spray wears off over the ensuing one to two hours.
Common reasons for performing this procedure this nasal endoscopy procedure during your visit include nasal airway obstruction, suspected acute or chronic sinusitis, nasal/facial pain, altered sense of smell, suspected nasal polyps, nasal trauma, and nosebleeds.
At times, additional examination of the throat and vocal cords may also be necessary. For this purpose, a transnasal flexible laryngoscope can be used in the office. This exam is extremely well tolerated and performed to patients of all ages. This can even be performed on newborns if medically required. Prior to passing the scope, the patient’s nose is decongested and anesthetized with topical sprays that do not sting or burn. The patient then sits in an upright position and the scope is passed along the floor of the nose into the back of the throat to a level just above the vocal cords. At this point the patient is asked to breathe deeply and phonate, allowing the physician to directly observe the structure and dynamic motion of the true and false vocal cords. There are no lasting side effects to this procedure and the anesthetic spray wears off over the ensuing one to two hours.