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Panendoscopy

Find out what a panendoscopy for nasal and sinus cancer is, how you have it and what happens afterwards.

What it is

A panendoscopy is a test to look at your upper airway. This includes your mouth, nose, voice box and top of your food pipe.

A specialist doctor does the test using a panendoscope, which is a series of connected telescopes. They look through one end and there is a camera and light at the other. 

Why you might have a panendoscopy

You might have panendoscopy if other tests have shown an abnormal area and your doctor needs to be able to see it more clearly. Or you might have it if your doctor needs to take a sample of tissue (a biopsy).

Before your test

You have a panendoscopy under general anaesthetic in the operating theatre.

Before your anaesthetic you: 

  • stop eating for about 6 hours beforehand but can still drink clear fluids up to 2 hours before
  • change into a hospital gown
  • take off jewellery (except for a wedding ring)
  • take off make up, including nail varnish
  • remove contact lenses and false teeth

You can usually keep false teeth in until you get to the anaesthetic room.

What happens

The anaesthetist puts a small tube into a vein in your arm (cannula). You have any fluids and medicines you need through the cannula, including the general anaesthetic. This sends you into a deep sleep. When you wake up, the test will be over. 

The doctor gently puts the panendoscope up your nose and down into your throat. They look at all parts of your pharynx, as well as the larynx (voice box), food pipe (oesophagus), windpipe (trachea) and breathing tubes (bronchi).

After your test

You can go home as soon as you have recovered from the anaesthetic. This is usually on the same day. 

Panendoscopy is a very safe procedure but your nurse will tell you who to contact if you have any problems afterwards. Your doctors will make sure the benefits of having a panendoscopy outweigh these possible risks.

Getting your results

You should get your results within 1 or 2 weeks at a follow up appointment. 

Waiting for test results can be a very worrying time. You might have contact details for a specialist nurse who you can contact for information if you need to. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.

You can also contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 for information and support. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Contact the doctor who arranged the test if you haven’t heard anything after a couple of weeks.

Information and help