Doctors examine vocal cords using an instrument with a light and a mirror placed in the back of the throat, which allows the doctor to see the vocal cords reflected in the mirror. Another way to view the vocal cords is with a flexible fiberoptic scope. The doctor passes the scope through the nose into the back of the throat.
In either case, if the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, he or she may ask you to cough up some mucous (phlegm, sputum) and have it analyzed in a laboratory.
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