A thin tube with a light and camera on the end (laryngoscope) is passed down your throat. This test allows the doctor to examine the larynx.

What is a laryngoscopy?

A laryngoscopy is a test that looks closely at the larynx using a laryngoscope. A laryngoscope is a thin, metal tube with a light on the end.

You have this test if your doctor sees anything unusual in your throat during a nasendoscopy.

Or you may have it if the doctor cannot see the larynx clearly with the nasendoscope.

Having a laryngoscopy

You need to have a general anaesthetic for the test. This allows the doctor to examine the larynx using a laryngoscope.

The doctor passes the laryngoscope down the throat to look at the larynx closely. They may also take photos using a camera that is attached to the tube.

During the laryngoscopy, the doctor takes a sample of cells or tissue from any areas that look abnormal. This is called a biopsy. It is the most important test to diagnose cancer of the larynx.

A doctor called a pathologist then looks at the sample under a microscope, to check for cancer cells. It usually takes 7 to 10 days for your results to come back.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our laryngeal cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at

    ESMO Annals of Oncology. Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, larynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx. EHNS-ESMO-ESTRO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up. 2020. Available from (accessed Jan 2022).

    NICE Guideline NG36. Cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract: assessment and management in people aged 16 and over. 2018. Available from (accessed Jan 2022).

    NICE Technology Appraisal TA736. Nivolumab for treating recurrent of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck after platinum-based chemotherapy. 2021. Available from (accessed Jan 2022).

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Claire Paterson, Consultant Clinical Oncologist. 

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 June 2022
Next review: 01 June 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.