Laser Treatment For ENT Patients
What Is An Office Based Laser Treatment and Why Are They Performed?
Laser energy is delivered to your throat to treat conditions that are making you hoarse or restricting your air passage. Many lesions in the larynx such as papilloma and some early cancers can be helped by such treatment. The laser produces a beam of light that destroys the blood vessels that support the lesion. The laser damages the tissue around the lesion very little.
What can be treated with a laser in the office?
When the vocal cords become inflamed they can develop bumps such as polyps that make you hoarse. Non-cancerous growths can happen such as papilloma. Pre-cancerous growths (leukoplakia) can be treated in the office.
What does the laser do?
The lasers we use (PDL and KTP lasers) are designed to deliver low-dose energy to the tissue which will make the condition (polyp or growth) shrink and hopefully go away. The lasers are good at protecting normal tissue.
You must not eat or drink anything for 3 hours before the laser treatment. This includes water, coffee and juices.
It is important for you to tell us before the treatment if you are taking blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin, Coumadin®, ASA or Plavix. You must discuss with your local doctor if stopping these medicines for 3 days before the laser treatment is OK.
Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines such as Advil® for 3 days before or 2 days after the laser treatment. These medicines can cause bleeding which may complicate the treatment. You may use acetaminophen or Tylenol®.
If you take antibiotics before a dental appointment, please do so before the laser treatment.
If you have diabetes, you may need to adjust your insulin dose because your eating will be changed on the day of the treatment. Please talk to your local doctor about the best way to do this. Do not take oral hypoglycemic medicine the morning of your treatment. Bring your blood sugar monitor to the clinic with you, so that you can check your blood sugar before the treatment. If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, you can drink orange juice or eat a piece of hard candy.
Before the laser treatment, the nursing staff will ask you for a brief medical history. The doctor will numb your nose and throat with Lidocaine®. You may swallow this liquid. The numbing process may make you cough. You may feel that you cannot swallow or have a lump in your throat. This just means that the numbing process is working.
The laser treatment is done by passing a thin flex camera (endoscope) through one side of your nose and down into your throat. The treatment most often takes about 20 minutes. The amount of time depends on the extent of disease.
After the Procedure
You should not eat or drink anything for 1 hour after the laser treatment. This will give the numbing medicine time to wear off and your swallowing to return to normal.
You can expect to cough up blood-tinged mucous or small pieces of the treated tissue. This is normal. Avoid excessive coughing or clearing of the throat that may aggravate the tissue that has been treated.
You may have throat pain after the numbing medicine wears off. Most patients use Tylenol® for pain relief. You may find more relief by sucking on ice chips or drinking ice water.
Avoid strenuous activity or exercise for 2 to 3 days after the laser treatment. We suggest 72 hours of voice rest.
You may eat your normal diet. Drink plenty of fluids.
When to Call the Doctor
Please call the clinic if
▪ You have pain that doesn’t go away with medicine.
▪ You cough up bright red blood or clots.
▪ You have shortness of breath.
If you have problems breathing, go to the nearest ER or call 911.
ENT (Otolaryngology) Clinic, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm:
(608) 263-6190. After hours, you will be connected to the paging operator. Ask for the ENT (Otolaryngology) doctor on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/25/2013
Copyright © 07/25/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6042
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