Diagnosis of Laryngitis

By  , Expert Content
Jul 11, 2011

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Laryngitis can be acute or chronic. Most cases with acute laryngitis are diagnosed clinically (based on medical history and physical examination).

Medical history and physical examination

The doctor will take a detailed medical history and may ask question such as:

  • Do you have any other symptom such as fever, cough, cold?
  • How long have you had the symptoms?
  • Do you have any breathing difficulty?
  • Have you used your voice excessively recently (such as have to cheered loudly at any event, or did you sing a lot).?

The doctor will examine you thoroughly with special attention to neck, throat and lungs.


Most people with acute laryngitis do not need any tests as it is usually a self-limiting condition. If the symptoms have been persistent for sometime (chronic laryngitis) or are bothersome then lab tests may be done. Some of the tests that may be done include:

Computerised tomography (CT) scan: CT scan is a painless and non-invasive test which provides good visual detail of the part of the body that is examined. It can show details such as small tumours and other lesions in the brain, throat which may be causing your symptoms. During CT scan for laryngitis a series of detailed pictures of head and neck are taken. A computer then combines these pictures into images and a trained doctor can examine the images for abnormalities (such as cancerous growth, infection or any other pathology). CT scan is useful to stage people with laryngeal tumour (i.e. determine the extent of spread and size of tumour). Staging of tumour is important to decide the treatment approach. In some cases magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the head and neck may be done.

Biopsy: Biopsy may be done if a growth is seen to check for the presence of cancerous cells. This is a confirmatory test to diagnose if the suspected growth or mass is cancerous. Tissue sample from the mass or growth is taken and send for microscopic examination. The tissue sample is examined by a pathologist (a doctor who specialises in diagnosing diseases by looking at cells and tissues under a microscope) for cancerous changes.

Skin allergy test: It can help to diagnose if you have an allergy to certain substances which is the cause of laryngitis.

Laryngoscopy: This is a specialised test which uses a fibre-optic instrument with light source and camera (called laryngoscope) to check if there is any growth or lesion on your larynx.

Other tests: Blood tests and throat swab (a small cotton bud with a plastic loop at the end) may be done. This can help to diagnose possible viral, bacterial or fungal infection.



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