by Jones P


Stroboscopy is a test that shows the movement of the vocal cords.

Reasons for Test

The test is done to look for causes of voice problems such as:

  • Loss of voice - laryngitis
  • Hoarseness that has no clear cause and does not go away
  • The test can help the doctor see a specific cause of the problem. This will help to guide treatment.

Possible Complications 

Problems are rare with this test. Possible problems may include:

  • Bleeding in the nose – usually light
  • Reaction to anesthesia medicine
  • Infection
  • Hoarseness

What to Expect

Prior to Test

Other tests or treatments may be tried first. Most tests will not need preparation.

Let your doctor know about any medicine or supplements you are taking.


Medicine can be sprayed into the nose or throat. It will numb the area to make the test more comfortable.

Description of Test

The test can be done in a doctor’s office. You will be seated. Medicine will be sprayed into the nose and throat. The doctor will insert a small tube into the nose. It will be passed back into the throat until it is level with the top of the mouth. You will be asked to do some voice exercises. The scope will record your vocal cords while you do them.

The scope will be gently removed once the test is done.

After Test

The doctor may review the video with you.

You can leave after the test is done. You will be able to return to normal activities.

How Long Will It Take?

The scope may take 5 to 30 minutes depending on what the doctor sees.

Will It Hurt?

The scope can be a little uncomfortable. The test is not painful for most patients.


Your doctor may have immediate results for you. The video may need to be further assessed before results are clear.

Call Your Doctor

After the test, call your doctor if you have:

  • Heavy bleeding in the nose
  • Fever
  • Severe pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 

Voice Foundation 


Speech and Hearing BC 

Health Canada 


Cates D, Randall D. Evidence-Based Practice. Evidence-Based Clinical Practice in Otolaryngology, 2018:125.

Laryngitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  . Updated April 24, 2019. Accessed June 4, 2020.

Laryngoscopy. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Accessed June 4, 2020.

Stroboscopy. Voice foundation website. Available at: Accessed June 4, 2020.

Video Laryngeal Stroboscopy. Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Available at: Accessed June 4, 2020.

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