Is a Videostroboscopy Painful? Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever experienced the need to go through a medical procedure that involves some sort of equipment being inserted in your body?If yes, then you would know how scary and uncomfortable it can be. Given that, it’s a common myth among people that any medical procedure must be painful. But this is not true in the case of videostroboscopy. You might be wondering, is a videostroboscopy painful? Well, let’s find out.

Videostroboscopy doesn’t cause any pain. This medical procedure involves examining the vocal cords through a specialized camera, which doesn’t cause any discomfort. In fact, it is deemed as one of the most reliable techniques to examine vocal cords with great accuracy. It’s a common tool that is used by speech therapists to diagnose vocal cord issues.

If you’re someone who is afraid of medical procedures, videostroboscopy might feel like a daunting experience at first. But once you get to know the details and the process, you’ll realize that it’s a straightforward and painless procedure. The thought of having anything put down the throat can create a stir in the stomach, but with videostroboscopy, you’re in good hands. So, rest easy and know that this procedure is not painful in the slightest bit.

What is videostroboscopy?

Videostroboscopy is a diagnostic procedure used by ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors to evaluate the functions and structure of the larynx, vocal cords, and pharynx. It is a non-invasive outpatient procedure with no downtime that uses a specialized video camera and light to take a slow-motion video of the vocal cords as the patient speaks or sings.

The technology used in videostroboscopy allows the doctor to see the vocal cords in greater detail than a simple visual observation. The camera takes many pictures per second and uses a strobe light to create a slow-motion effect, which allows the doctor to visualize even the smallest changes in the vocal cords that may not be visible to the naked eye. This technology helps the doctor to obtain a more accurate diagnosis and make informed decisions about treatment options.

  • Videostroboscopy helps evaluate the structure and function of the larynx, vocal cords, and pharynx;
  • It is non-invasive and has no downtime;
  • It uses a specialized camera and light to take a slow-motion video of the vocal cords as the patient speaks or sings;
  • It provides greater detail than simple visual observation;
  • It allows the doctor to see the smallest changes in the vocal cords that may not be visible to the naked eye.

How does videostroboscopy work?

If you are scheduled for a videostroboscopy, you may be wondering what to expect during the procedure. A videostroboscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that allows doctors and speech therapists to evaluate your vocal cords. The procedure is relatively simple and usually takes less than ten minutes to complete. During the procedure, a physician or speech pathologist will use a flexible endoscope to examine the vocal cords.

  • The endoscope is a small, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it.
  • The endoscope is inserted through the nose and guided down the throat until it reaches the vocal cords.
  • The camera on the endoscope will take high-quality images of the vocal cords, which are displayed on a screen for the doctor or therapist to review.

The videostroboscopy uses a stroboscopic light source to create a slow-motion effect of the vocal cords. This helps the doctor or speech therapist to visualize the vocal cords more clearly and identify any issues with their function, such as inconsistencies in vibration or nodules on the cords. The procedure is not painful, but some patients may experience minor discomfort from the insertion of the endoscope.

The procedure has several benefits, including the ability to diagnose and treat a variety of voice disorders, such as vocal cord paralysis, polyps, and nodules. Basic videostroboscopy equipment is widely available at hospitals and clinics, and the procedure is commonly used around the world.

Advantages of videostroboscopy

One of the main advantages of videostroboscopy is that it allows for a detailed view of the vocal cords without the use of invasive measures. Prior to the development of this procedure, a more invasive technique known as direct laryngoscopy was used to evaluate the vocal cords, which required anesthesia and carried more risks. Other advantages of videostroboscopy include:

  • Quick and non-invasive: The procedure is fast, simple, and does not require anesthesia. Patients can return to normal activities immediately following the procedure.
  • Precision: The high-quality images provided by the endoscope and stroboscopic lighting enable a more precise diagnosis of vocal cord disorders.
  • Accessibility: Videostroboscopy equipment is available in many clinics and hospitals, making the procedure accessible to more patients who need it.
  • Effectiveness: Videostroboscopy is considered one of the most effective tools for diagnosing and treating voice disorders.


If you are experiencing voice problems such as hoarseness, difficulty speaking clearly, or vocal fatigue, your doctor may recommend a videostroboscopy to evaluate your vocal cords. The procedure is non-invasive and provides a more accurate diagnosis of vocal cord disorders. By undergoing a videostroboscopy, you can identify and address any problems with your vocal cords, leading to improved voice quality and overall health.

Pros Cons
Non-invasive procedure Minor discomfort from endoscope insertion
Precise diagnosis of vocal cord disorders Not recommended for patients with certain medical conditions like bleeding disorders
Quick and accessible to patients in hospitals and clinics worldwide Costly for those without insurance coverage

In the hands of expert physicians and speech pathologists, videostroboscopy can be a powerful diagnostic tool for identifying voice disorders, leading to more productive and accurate treatment plans.

Why is videostroboscopy performed?

Videostroboscopy is a diagnostic tool used by healthcare providers to assess the function and structure of a patient’s vocal cords. The procedure uses a specialized camera that captures images of the vocal cords as they vibrate. Videostroboscopy can be used to diagnose a variety of voice disorders, such as:

  • Vocal nodules or polyps
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Laryngitis
  • Vocal cord dysfunction

During the procedure, the patient is typically seated in an exam chair. A small camera is threaded through the nose and throat, allowing the healthcare provider to view the vocal cords in action. The camera is equipped with a stroboscopic light that flashes rapidly, enabling the provider to see the vocal cords vibrating in slow motion. The images captured during videostroboscopy allow healthcare providers to assess the patient’s vocal cord function and structure in great detail, providing insights into the cause of any voice disorders and informing subsequent treatment plans.

Is a videostroboscopy painful?

For many patients, videostroboscopy is a non-invasive and painless procedure. The camera used during the procedure is slender and flexible, which minimizes discomfort. There may be a momentary sensation of pressure in the nose or throat as the camera is threaded through, but this typically resolves quickly. Patients may experience a mild urge to cough or gag, but this is also temporary.

What to expect during a videostroboscopy procedure?

Patients receiving a videostroboscopy will need to avoid eating or drinking for a period of time before the procedure. In some cases, numbing medication may be used to minimize any discomfort during the procedure, which can be administered as a spray or gargle. During the procedure itself, the patient will sit comfortably in an exam chair while the camera is inserted through the nose or mouth. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes, and most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately afterward.

Pros Cons
Non-invasive procedure May cause temporary discomfort or pressure in the nose or throat
Provides detailed images of vocal cords in action May provoke urge to cough or gag temporarily
Can be used to diagnose a variety of voice disorders Requires the patient to avoid eating or drinking beforehand

Overall, videostroboscopy is a safe and effective tool used to assess vocal cord function and structure. Patients who experience any discomfort during the procedure should communicate openly with their healthcare provider, who can take steps to reduce or minimize discomfort.

Preparation for Videostroboscopy

Videostroboscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure used to evaluate the operation of vocal cords. This procedure is usually done by a licensed speech pathologist and takes about 15 to 20 minutes. In this article, we will discuss the basic preparation needed before undergoing videostroboscopy.

  • Physician consultation: Before undergoing videostroboscopy, consult with your physician, and let them know of any allergies or medications you are taking.
  • Avoid eating or drinking: It is recommended that you avoid eating or drinking six hours before the procedure. The presence of food or liquid particles in the throat can affect the quality of the video.
  • Wear comfortable clothing: It is important to wear comfortable clothes, preferably a shirt with a comfortable collar or a loose-fitting top. This will make it easier for the speech pathologist to access your neck, throat, and vocal cords.

In addition to the above-preparation, you may also be asked to remove any jewelry around the neck area, remove glasses or contact lenses, and refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol before the procedure.

During the videostroboscopy procedure, you will be seated and asked to wear a special microphone headset. A flexible endoscope with a small camera will be guided through your nose and down to your throat to capture the images of your vocal cords. The images will be displayed on a monitor, and the speech pathologist will analyze the quality of the voice, pitch, and vibration of the vocal cords.

Preparation for Videostroboscopy Do’s Don’ts
Consult with your physician Let them know of any allergies or medications you are taking
Avoid eating or drinking Follow the recommended fasting time before the procedure Do not consume any food or drink during the fasting period
Wear comfortable clothing Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes Do not wear tight-fitting clothes or accessories around the neck area
Remove jewelry, glasses, or contact lenses Make it easier for the speech pathologist to access your neck, throat, and vocal cords
Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol before the procedure

By following the above preparation, you can ensure a successful videostroboscopy procedure. Remember, videostroboscopy is a non-painful diagnostic procedure that can help diagnose and treat voice disorders.

Is videostroboscopy painful?

If you’re scheduled for a videostroboscopy procedure, you might be feeling a bit apprehensive about what to expect. One of the biggest concerns is whether the procedure is painful or uncomfortable. While individual experiences may vary, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the pain factor.

  • The procedure itself shouldn’t be painful: During the procedure, a doctor or specialist passes a thin, flexible scope through your nose or mouth and down to your vocal cords. This process shouldn’t cause any pain, but some people do experience a gagging sensation or mild discomfort as the tube passes down their throat.
  • The sensation of the strobe light can be uncomfortable: As the name suggests, a videostroboscopy uses a flashing light to help create a detailed image of your vocal cords. Some people find the sensation of the light flashing in their throat to be uncomfortable or even mildly painful. However, it’s important to note that the strobe light only flashes for a few seconds at a time and shouldn’t cause any lasting discomfort or damage.
  • Discomfort can vary depending on individual factors: Everyone’s experience with a videostroboscopy will be unique. Some people may experience no discomfort at all, while others may feel some mild discomfort or irritation in their throat after the procedure.

If you’re concerned about the pain or discomfort associated with a videostroboscopy, talk to your doctor or specialist beforehand. They can give you a better idea of what to expect and may be able to provide some tips for making the procedure more comfortable. Additionally, taking deep breaths, practicing relaxation techniques, or using numbing sprays or lozenges before the procedure can help reduce discomfort.


Overall, a videostroboscopy procedure shouldn’t be painful, but individual experiences can vary. If you’re feeling uncertain or anxious, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or specialist. They’re there to help make the procedure as comfortable as possible and provide you with the care and support you need.

Remember, your vocal health is important, and a videostroboscopy is a valuable tool for diagnosing and treating vocal cord issues. Don’t let fear or discomfort stop you from taking care of your voice and getting the treatment you need.

Pros Cons
No pain during the procedure Possible mild discomfort or irritation from the strobe light
Can help diagnose and treat vocal cord issues Individual experiences with discomfort can vary
Doctors can provide tips for making the procedure more comfortable Some people may experience a gagging sensation or mild discomfort as the scope passes down their throat

Risks and Complications Associated with Videostroboscopy

Videostroboscopy is a widely used diagnostic tool for assessing and treating voice disorders. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses a specialized camera to visualize the larynx and vocal folds. Although videostroboscopy is generally safe, there are still some risks and potential complications that patients should be aware of before undergoing the procedure.

  • Uncomfortable sensations: Some patients may experience discomfort or irritation in their throat or nose during the procedure. This is because the camera and associated equipment are placed through the nasal passages and the back of the throat.
  • Bleeding: In rare cases, videostroboscopy can cause bleeding in the nasal passages or the throat. This can occur if the scope irritates or damages the lining of these areas.
  • Infection: There is a very low risk of infection associated with videostroboscopy. This can occur if the camera or equipment is contaminated or if the procedure is not performed in a sterile environment.

In addition to these potential risks, there are also some specific complications that can occur during the procedure.

Complications of Videostroboscopy

Vocal fold hemorrhage: This occurs when there is bleeding in the vocal folds. It is usually caused by trauma to the area or overuse of the voice. The risk of vocal fold hemorrhage during videostroboscopy is relatively low but can occur in some cases.

Vocal fold cyst: A vocal fold cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop on the vocal folds. In some cases, videostroboscopy can cause the cyst to rupture, leading to pain and other symptoms.

Aspiration: Aspiration occurs when food, liquid, or other foreign objects enter the airway. In rare cases, videostroboscopy can cause aspiration if the patient swallows during the procedure.

Preventing Risks and Complications

Most patients who undergo videostroboscopy experience no complications or side effects. However, there are some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of complications.

First, it is essential to choose a qualified and experienced healthcare provider who specializes in voice disorders. This ensures that the procedure is performed correctly and with minimal risk of complications.

Second, patients should inform their healthcare provider of any allergies, medical conditions, or medications they are taking. This will help the provider to select the most appropriate equipment and technique for the procedure.

Finally, patients should follow all instructions provided by their healthcare provider before, during, and after the procedure. This may include avoiding food or drinks for a certain period before the procedure or refraining from talking for a specific period afterward.

Risks and Complications Preventative Measures
Uncomfortable sensations Choose a qualified provider, inform provider of medical history and follow all instructions provided
Bleeding Choose a qualified provider, inform provider of medical history and follow all instructions provided
Infection Choose a qualified provider, ensure sterile environment
Vocal fold hemorrhage Choose a qualified provider, rest voice after procedure
Vocal fold cyst Choose a qualified provider, monitor symptoms and report any changes immediately
Aspiration Choose a qualified provider, avoid swallowing during the procedure

By taking these precautions, patients can ensure that their videostroboscopy procedure is safe and effective, with minimal risk of complications. If you have any concerns or questions about the risks and complications associated with videostroboscopy, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Recovery after videostroboscopy

After the procedure, patients can typically resume their normal daily activities. However, some people may have some discomfort, which is usually mild and resolves within a few hours. Depending on the patient’s condition or the complexity of the examination, the patient may be required to stay under observation for a certain period. The recovery period will depend on various factors, including the patient’s overall health, the sedative administered, and the scope of the procedure.

  • Rest is essential for the first 24-48 hours after the procedure
  • Avoid smoking for at least a week post-procedure
  • Avoid eating heavy or spicy meals for the first 24 hours post-procedure

It is not uncommon to experience mild soreness or discomfort after a videostroboscopy procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen, can be used to alleviate any discomfort. Patients should contact their doctor if they experience any severe pain, bleeding, fever, or difficulty swallowing.

Some people may have slight pharyngeal discomfort and voice changes for a few days following a videostroboscopy procedure. The patient’s specialist should be consulted about any concerns about these side effects. It’s essential to remember that these effects are temporary and should subside within a few days.

Activity Allowed?
Driving No, for at least 12 hours after sedation
Heavy Lifting Avoid for at least 24 hours
Exercise Avoid for 24-48 hours

It’s important to follow the guidelines from your specialist, take prescribed medication as directed, and contact them if any unusual symptoms occur. Recovery time varies from person to person, and the doctor will provide an individualized plan to help clients get back to their regular activities as safely and quickly as possible.

Is a Videostroboscopy Painful? FAQs

Q: What is a videostroboscopy?
A: A videostroboscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows a doctor or speech therapist to examine the larynx to diagnose any conditions that may be affecting the vocal cords, such as polyps, nodules, or tumors.

Q: Is a videostroboscopy painful?
A: No, a videostroboscopy is not usually painful, but it can be uncomfortable. The procedure involves inserting a small camera through the nose or mouth to visualize the larynx and vocal cords, but there is no pain involved.

Q: Does a videostroboscopy require sedation?
A: No, a videostroboscopy does not require sedation, but a doctor may choose to use a local anesthetic, especially if the patient has a sensitive gag reflex.

Q: How long does a videostroboscopy take?
A: A videostroboscopy usually takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. However, the time may vary, depending on the patient’s anatomy and the nature of the examination.

Q: Are there any side effects of a videostroboscopy?
A: Generally, there are no side effects of a videostroboscopy. However, some patients may experience sore throat, nasal irritation or discomfort or minor bleeding after the procedure.

Q: Who performs a videostroboscopy?
A: A videostroboscopy is usually performed by a trained speech therapist with medical supervision.

Q: What can I expect after undergoing a videostroboscopy?
A: After a videostroboscopy, your doctor will discuss the results with you and advise any further treatment required, if any.

Closing Thoughts

We hope that this article answered your questions about videostroboscopy and clear out any doubts you had regarding whether the process is painful or not. Videostroboscopy is an essential test to diagnose various medical conditions, and understanding its nature and possible effects can help you prepare better for the procedure. If you are still worried about the process, please consult with your doctor. Thank you for reading this article and do visit us again for more health-related topics.