Following referral by your general practitioner or dentist you will receive an appointment to attend an outpatient clinic. Please feel free to bring someone with you.
On arrival at the clinic you will check in and then be shown into a clinic room to meet a doctor. The doctor will have some information from your referral letter but will want to ask you some more questions about symptoms or changes you have noticed. The doctor will want to ask about your general health. It’s always worth bringing along a list of any current medication you are taking.
The doctor will then wish to feel your neck to check for any lumps or bumps as well as looking in your mouth.
The doctor may wish to use a bendy telescope to look at your voice box. This is a thin flexible tube which can be steered very accurately to the back of the nose from where a view of the back of the tongue and throat as well as the voice box can be made. The tube irritates the nose rather than being painful and may make you want to sneeze!
If you have a lump in the neck, you may need a needle sample taken from the lump. This feels a bit like a blood test. The results of this are usually ready in a week.
From this examination it may be possible to decide about the likely cause of your symptoms and the doctor can discuss this with you. It may be necessary to undertake further tests which will occur at a future visit. This could be imaging such as an x-ray or a CT scan or an ultrasound test. It may involve having an examination under general anaesthetic to inspect areas in more detail. The doctor will advise you of what the next steps are before the end of your appointment.
Please feel free to ask any questions and express any anxieties you may have. The doctors are there to help you understand what is going on as well as make a diagnosis.