Stroboscopy Examination

Advanced voice diagnostics services at Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery, Inc. include videolaryngostroboscopy evaluations. In this state-of-the-art examination, a strobe light is used to light up the voice box. This special flashing light then allows the speech-language pathologist and ENT to see the vocal cords vibrating at very slow speeds. This allows for better examination and ultimately more accurate diagnosis and efficient treatment planning for individuals with voice problems.

A Stroboscopy Examination will be recommended after an evaluation by an ENT to determine if the fine vibratory charactersitics of the voice are abnormal, to determine the exact nature of a vocal cord lesion, or to determine if there is a muscle tension disorder in addition to a vocal cord lesion. Stroboscopy exams are excellent for determining if the edges of the vocal cords are smooth and straight, which is necessary for normal voice production (especially in the professional voice user or classically trained singer).

Healthy Vocal Cords

What happens during Stroboscopy?
During the exam, a patient is seated upright, with the feet flat on the floor and leaning a little bit forward from the hips. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) will hold the tongue gently with a piece of gauze, and a long, thin camera will be placed into the mouth. This camera rests above the tongue and only goes as far back as the molar teeth. There is a special lens on the end of the camera that can see down into the voice box while the patient produces an /eeeeeee/ sound.

The patient often feels nothing during the examination except the SLP holding the tongue. A few patients may cough or gag if the tip of the camera does touch the back of the throat or tongue. Most exams take about 15 minutes to complete including rest breaks and breaks for the SLP to reset camera and computer controls.

Diseased Vocal Cord

Can I see the video of my vocal cords?
Yes. After the exam is over, the patient is shown the video and all the anatomy and physiology findings are explained in detail. Based on the exam, potential treatment options are described. It is possible to send a copy of the video or color pictures of the exam to a referring physician, another SLP who will be providing voice therapy, or any other health care professional in need of the results.

Who performs the Stroboscopy Examination?
An ENT physician or a speech-language pathologist with special training may perform the exam. At Eastern Carolina ENT, stroboscopic examinations are performed by Kathleen Cox, PhD, CCC-SLP.

How do I make an appointment?
If you have already seen an ENT physician, you can make an appointment with Dr. Cox by calling 252-752-5227 and requesting an evaluation.

If you have not already seen an ENT, you can make an appointment with one at Eastern Carolina ENT and the physician will determine if you should be recommended for a stroboscopy.

If you have seen another physician (pulmonologist, allergist, family doctor), and that physician has recommended the examination, then you can call 252-752-5227 for an appointment with Dr. Cox. Please bring any medical records regarding your voice problem to the appointment.

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