Division of Head and Neck Surgery

Transnasal Esophagoscopy (TNE)

An endoscope is an instrument used to examine an interior part of the body. Endoscopes may be either rigid or flexible, and they have a light at the end that illuminates the area for visibility. During transnasal esophagoscopy (TNE), a thin, flexible endoscope is inserted through the nose and down the throat in order to gain view of the vocal folds, larynx (voicebox), esophagus, or other structures of the throat. Patients do not need to be sedated before undergoing TNE. Superthin transnasal endoscopes are now being tested and appear to be superior in several ways, including being better tolerated by patients and more cost effective. Because intravenous sedative medication is not required before TNE, the risk of complications is lower than with conventional endoscopy. The most common complication associated with TNE is nosebleed.l;

When is TNE Used?

We may use TNE to examine patients who have a mass in the neck, throat, airway, or esophagus. Patients with sleep apnea may undergo TNE to check for obstruction in the throat, though typically patients with sleep apnea will undergo transnasal flexible laryngoscopy (TFL) to help determine the cause of sleep apnea. Patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also benefit from TNE, as it can reveal manifestations of GERD in the esophagus. For patients with GERD and asthma, challenging symptoms such as chronic cough can be better understood through TNE. The procedure can allow physicians to view the effects of GERD in the throat, effects that are far more common than previously realized and that may increase patients’ risks for cancer of the larynx and hypopharynx.

Transnasal esophagoscopy may also be used to examine patients who have swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) due to obstructive or mechanical problems. In one study, transnasal endoscopy led to correct diagnosis of the cause of dysphagia in 100% of patients.

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