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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

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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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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