The laryngoscope is a medical devices that allows doctors to examine a patient's larynx, also known as the voice box. The device helps both with diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the larynx.
Spanish singing teacher Manuel Garcia invented the laryngoscope in 1855. His device allowed doctors to begin studying the larynx's anatomy and diseases in the late 1800s.
A laryngoscope has a handle and a smooth, lighted tube, also called a blade. The handle contains a battery pack that supplies power to a light source inside the blade, which can be straight or curved, rigid or flexible.
The doctor inserts the blade into the patient's upper airway. The light allows the doctor to examine the larynx and the glottis, the space where the vocal cords are located.
Some laryngoscopes are used only for diagnosis. Others allow doctors to perform biopsies, remove foreign objects or insert a breathing tube into a patient's airway, a process called intubation.
Doctors at the Medical College of Georgia have developed a Video Rigid Flexible Laryngoscope that combines a traditional laryngoscope with a camera and a screen. The device is designed to make intubation easier and less painful for the patient.