A rigid laryngoscope is used for direct laryngoscopy. It consists of a handle (incorporating a battery) and a blade with a light source. There are two main types of laryngoscopes. The Macintosh blade is a curved blade and a Miller blade is straight. The Macintosh blade is easier to use while the Miller blade may give the user a better view of the vocal cords. The Miller blade is usually used for infants, as seen in the picture to the right.
Direct laryngoscopy is done with the patient lying on his or her back; the larygoscope is inserted into the mouth to push away the tongue and lift the epiglottis so that a view of the glottis is possible. This procedure is most often employed in tracheal intubation. It is painful and extremely uncomfortable and is usually not done in conscious patients. One of the main complications when using a laryngoscope is dental damage to the patient's upper teeth.
Transnasal Flexible Laryngoscope
A transnasal flexible laryngoscope can be used for office-based diagnostics. The patient remains wide awake during the procedure, so the vocal cords can be observed during speech or singing. Surgical instruments passed through the scope can be used for performing procedures such as biopsies of suspicious masses.