Nasendoscopy is a minor procedure that is usually performed in the clinic setting to assess the structures of the nose and throat. It involves using a small camera which is passed through the nostril.
The camera is a flexible tube, endoscope, that can be manoeuvred to help obtain a good view of the nose and throat. It is placed through the nostril and moved to the back of the nose and throat.
The camera also has a light which helps to provide a good view. It is a very safe and commonly performed procedure which can provide your doctor with valuable information about the nose and throat.
Indications – why nasendoscopy is performed
There are a number of reasons why nasendoscopy may be performed.
It can help in the diagnosis of many nose and throat problems, including:
- Nose bleeds
- Blocked nose and difficulty breathing
- Hayfever / allergic rhinitis
- Sinus problems / sinusitis
- Problems with swallowing
- Voice problems
- Sleep apnoea
- Foreign bodies
- Suspected cancers of the nose and throat
Nasendoscopy is also a very useful tool to help assess speech and swallowing. Using the nasendoscope can help your specialist to see what is happening in your throat when you are speaking and swallowing to help determine what the cause of the speech or swallowing difficulty might be.
Anatomy – what can be seen with nasendoscopy
Nasendoscopy is used to visualise many of the structures of the nose and throat.
Some of the structures that can be assessed by nasendoscopy include:
- The cavity of the nose
- The nasal septum; which divides the two cavities of the nose
- The nasal turbinates
- The openings of the sinuses
- The openings of the auditory (Eustachian) tubes
- The tonsils
- The adenoids
- The uvula
- The palate
- The vocal cords and surrounding structures
- The epiglottis; which is a flap of cartilage which protects the entry to the airway
- What is involved with the nasendoscopy procedure
In most cases, nasendoscopy is performed when you are sitting upright in a chair. The doctor will insert the camera into one of the nostrils and inspect the nose. They will then gradually move the camera down into the throat and inspect the structures of the palate and throat.
The nasendoscope is usually covered in gel so it moves easily and is more comfortable. Once the nostril and throat have been thoroughly assessed, the doctor will remove the nasendoscope and then insert it into the other nostril to assess it as well.
Is it painful?
Nasendoscopy is not usually a painful procedure, but it may be a bit uncomfortable. A local anaesthetic spray is used inside the nostril to numb the nose and throat before the camera is inserted.
Are there any risks?
Nasendoscopy is usually a very safe procedure and there are very few associated complications. There may be some minor bleeding after the procedure and you may have a bit of a sore throat. Some people have a very brief spasm of their vocal cords. Nasendoscopy is not recommended for people acute fractures of the face and skull and those with major bleeding disorders.
If you have concerns about your ears, nose or throat, contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see an ENT specialist.