Video of the Vocal Cords
Affinity Health System uses videostroboscopy, a state-of-the-art technique for observing and recording vocal cord motion. Videostroboscopy is a valuable tool to diagnose and educate patients about speech and vocal cord disorders such as hoarse or breathy vocal tone, laryngitis, nodules, vocal cord paralysis and reflux laryngitis.
Although the naked eye can see the vocal cords, vocal cord vibrations are too rapid to see. Videostroboscopy uses a digital strobe to make images of the vibrations appear in slow or stopped motion, to identify any abnormal vibration patterns. These images help Affinity specialists determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
How Videostroboscopy Can Help
When patients view their vocal cords in action, they have a better understanding of how their vocal cords work and what adjustments to make to treat their problems. Affinity doctors can compare digital video recordings made before and after voice treatment, to document changes in vocal cord movement and evaluate a patient’s progress.
Reports and still photos from videostroboscopy equipment are helpful in diagnosing and treating vocal disorders. Plus, they allow medical professionals to share information about treatment.
During the Procedure
An Affinity otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) and speech pathologist conduct the videostroboscopy, an outpatient procedure that takes about one hour. They strap a small monitoring device around your neck to measure voice pitch and intensity and place a scope in your mouth. The tip of the scope contains a light and a camera for viewing bright, clear images of the vocal cords. As you say various sounds, the camera records a video of the vocal cord vibrations and displays it on a computer monitor. The doctor and speech pathologist view the images in real time during the exam, adjusting the speed of the vibration images as necessary. They may play back the recordings right away, to help you understand what appears on the screen. Later, the doctor and speech pathologist will analyze the images in detail.
The examination isn’t painful, although some people feel a gagging sensation or have the urge to swallow. If needed, topical numbing spray can numb your throat to make the procedure more comfortable. The examination in conducted on an outpatient basis in the Ear, Nose and Throat clinic in Appleton.