A nasoendoscopy is part of a normal ear, nose and throat examination. It is a procedure to look at the inside of the:

  • nose
  • back of the tongue
  • throat
  • voice box

Your doctor passes a thin rigid or flexible tube called a nasoendoscope through your nostril into your nose. The tube has a camera and a bright light at the end.

Why you might have it

You may have a nasoendoscopy so that your doctor can check for any abnormal looking areas. This is a common test if you have symptoms that could be due to head and neck cancer. 

Preparing for the test

There are no special preparations for a nasoendoscopy. You can eat and drink and take your medicines as normal. 

What happens during a nasendoscopy?

A nasendoscopy usually takes place in an outpatient clinic. It lasts only a few minutes. You will be awake and able to speak to the doctor.

Your doctor passes the nasendoscope into your nose. This can be uncomfortable but does not usually hurt. Your eyes might water, and you might feel like coughing.

Your doctor might ask if you would like a local anaesthetic Open a glossary item sprayed in the nose 10 minutes beforehand to numb it.

Diagram showing a nasoendoscopy

During the test, your doctor may ask you to:

  • swallow 
  • breathe through your nose
  • puff out your cheeks

If your specialist sees an abnormality, you will probably need to go into the hospital for a day to have a sample of tissue taken under a short general anaesthetic Open a glossary item.

After your test

You can usually go home straight after your test. 

If you had the anaesthetic spray, you can’t eat or drink until the anaesthetic wears off and your throat feels normal again. This may take about an hour.

Possible risks

Nasoendoscopy is a very safe procedure. You may experience one or more of the following during the procedure:

  • your nose may be uncomfortable
  • it may feel like there is something in your throat
  • you may cough
  • your eyes may water
  • occasionally it may cause a nosebleed after the procedure

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