Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and lifestyle, listen to your voice, and ask you how long you've had voice problems. To further evaluate your voice problems, the following tests may be performed:

  • Endoscopy. Your doctor will look at your vocal cords using a mirror or a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) or both. You may also have a test called videostrobolaryngoscopy that's done using a special scope that contains a tiny camera at its tip or a larger camera connected to the scope's viewing piece. These special endoscopes allow your doctor to view your vocal cords directly or on a video monitor to determine the movement and position of the vocal cords and whether one or both vocal cords are affected.
  • Laryngeal electromyography. This test measures the electric currents in your voice box muscles. To obtain these measurements, your doctor typically inserts small needles into your vocal cord muscles through the skin of the neck. This test is only rarely performed because it doesn't usually provide information that might change the course of treatment.
  • Blood tests and scans. Because a number of diseases may cause a nerve to be injured, you may need additional tests to identify the cause of the paralysis. Tests may include blood work, lung function tests, X-rays, MRI or CT scans.
Jun. 15, 2012