Endoscopy of the airway in children

The findings of the examination are captured on video and played back to you after the procedure.

The findings of the examination are captured on video and played back to you after the procedure.

It may be necessary to examine your child’s airway with a fibreoptic endoscope (camera). Whilst this sounds like a difficult thing to do in a child, they in fact cope remarkably well.

The procedure involves placing some local anaesthetic on some cotton wool in the nose which remains for about 20 minutes. This does not hurt but can make the nose feel blocked and leave a slightly bitter taste

The procedure is carried out with a nurse holding your child with an arm around their arms and one across the forehead. The endoscope is very small (2.4 mm in diameter) but can feel a little strange and uncomfortable. However the procedure only lasts a few minutes.  If you are happy to hold your child yourself and not have a nurse that is fine – please inform your doctor of your wishes.

There are no real side effects of having this done other than the taste from the anaesthetic, the distress of being held and the potential gag reflex.

Rigid endoscopy through the mouth is a similar procedure but without the anaesthetic in the nose.  This examination is particularly useful for examination of the vocal folds but is more suited to older children.

The patient is asked to stick their tongue out and this is held by the examiner. A rigid scope which has an angled lens is passed over the tongue and a view of the back of the throat and voice box is displayed on a screen.

For patients with throat or voice issues this is the preferred examination to flexible endoscopy.


Endoscopic examination of the throat and voice box using a rigid scope

Please not that we take infection control very seriously and our endoscopes are cleaned after each procedure with the Tristel wipe system that is recognised by our professional association ENT UK.