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Position For Bronchoscopy And Esophagoscopy

Sources: A Manual Of Peroral Endoscopy And Laryngeal Surgery

The dorsally recumbent

patient is so placed that the head and shoulders extend beyond the

table, the edge of which supports the thorax at about the level of the

scapulae. During introduction, the head must be maintained in the same

relative position to the table as that described for direct

laryngoscopy, that is, elevated and extended. The first assistant, in

this case, sits on a stool to the right of the patient's hea
, his

left foot resting on a box about 14 inches in height, the left knee

supporting the assistant's left hand, which being placed under the

occiput of the patient maintains elevation and extension. The right

arm of the assistant passes under the neck of the patient, the bite

block being carried on the middle finger of the right hand and

inserted into the left side of the patient's mouth. The right hand

also prevents rotation of the head (Fig. 51). As the bronchoscope or

esophagoscope is further inserted, the head must be placed so that the

tube corresponds to the axis of the lumen of the passage to be

examined. If the left bronchus is being explored, the head must be

brought strongly to the right. If the right middle lobe bronchus is

being searched, the head would require some left lateral deflection

and a considerable degree of lowering, for this bronchus, as before

mentioned, extends anteriorly. During esophagoscopy when the level of

the heart is reached, the head and upper thorax must be strongly

depressed below the plane of the table in order to follow the axis of

the lumen of the ventrally turning esophagus; at the same time the

head must be brought somewhat to the right, since the esophagus in

this region deviates strongly to the left.

[FIG. 51.--Position of patient and assistant for introduction of the

bronchoscope and esophagoscope. The middle of the scapulae rest on the

edge of the table; the head and shoulders, free to move, are supported

by the assistant, whose right arm passes under the neck; the right

middle finger inserts the bite block into the left side of the mouth.

The left hand, resting on the left knee maintains the desired degree

of elevation, extension and lateral deflection required by the

operator. The patient's vertex should be 10 cm. higher than the level

of the top of the table. This is the Boyce position, which has never

been improved upon for bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy.]

[FIG. 52.--Schema of position for endoscopy.

A. Normal recumbency on the table with pillow supporting the head.

The larynx can be directly examined in this position, but a better

position is obtainable.

B. Head is raised to proper position with head flexed. Muscles of

front of neck are relaxed and exposure of larynx thus rendered easier;

but, for most endoscopic work, a certain amount of extension is

desired. The elevation is the important thing.

C. The neck being maintained in position B, the desired amount of

extension of the head is obtained by a movement limited to the

occipito-atloid articulation by the assistant's hand placed as shown

by the dart (B).

D. Faulty position. Unless prevented, almost all patients will heave

up the chest and arch the lumbar spine so as to defeat the object and

to render endoscopy difficult by bringing the chest up to the

high-held head, thus assuming the same relation of the head to the

chest as exists in the Rose position (a faulty one for endoscopy) as

will be understood by assuming that the dotted line, E, represents the

table. If the pelvis be not held down to the table the patient may

even assume the opisthotonous position by supporting his weight on his

heels on the table and his head on the assistant's hand.]

In obtaining the position of high head with occipito-atloid extension,

the easiest and most certain method, as pointed out to me by my

assistant, Gabriel Tucker, is first to raise the head, strongly

flexed, as shown in Fig. 52; then while maintaining it

there, make the occipito-atloid extension. This has proven better

than to elevate and extend in a combined simultaneous movement.

If the patient would relax to limpness exposure of the larynx would be

easily obtained, simply by lifting the head with the lip of the

laryngoscope passed below the tip of the epiglottis (as in Fig. 55)

and no holding of the head would be necessary. But only rarely is a

patient found who can do this. This degree of relaxation is of course,

present in profound general ether anesthesia, which is not to be

thought of for direct laryngoscopy, except when it is used for the

purpose of insertion of intratracheal insufflation anesthetic tubes.

For this, of course, the patient is already to be deeply anesthetized.

The muscular tension exerted by some patients in assuming and holding

a faulty position is almost as much of a hindrance to peroral

endoscopy as is the position itself. The tendency of the patient to

heave up his chest and assume a false position simulating the

opisthotonous position (Fig. 52) must be overcome by persuasion. This

position has all the disadvantages of the Rose position for endoscopy.

[FIG. 53.--The author's position for the removal of foreign bodies

from the larynx or from any of the upper air or food passages. If

dislodged, the intruder will not be aided by gravity to reach a deeper


The one exception to these general positions is found in procedures

for the removal of foreign bodies from the larynx. In such cases,

while the same relative position of the head to the plane of the table

is maintained, the whole table top is so inclined as to elevate the

feet and lower the head, known as Jackson's position. This

semi-inversion of the patient allows the foreign body to drop into the

pharynx if it should be dislodged, or slip from the forceps (Fig. 53).

TITLE Importance of Mirror Examination of the Larynx

The presence of

the direct laryngoscope incites spasmodic laryngeal reflexes, and the

traction exerted somewhat distorts the tissues, so that accurate

observations of variations in laryngeal mobility are difficult to

obtain. The function of the laryngeal muscles and structures,

therefore, can best be studied with the laryngeal mirror, except in

infants and small children who will not tolerate the procedure of

indirect laryngoscopy. A true idea of the depth of the larynx is not

obtained with the mirror, and a view of the ventricles is rarely had.

With the introduction of the direct laryngoscope it is found that the

larynx is funnel shaped, and that the adult cords are situated about 3

cm. below the aryepiglottic folds; the cords also assume their true

shelf-like character and take on a pinkish or yellowish tinge, rather

than the pearly white seen in the mirror. They are not to any extent

differentiated by color from the neighboring structures. Their

recognition depends almost wholly on form, position and movement.

Accurate observation is stimulated in all pathologic cases by making

colored crayon sketches, however crude, of the mirror image of the

larynx. The location of a growth may be thus graphically recorded, so

that at the time of operation a glance will serve to refresh the

memory as to its site. It is to be constantly kept in mind, however,

that in the mirror image the sides are reversed because of the facing

positions of the examiner and patient. Direct laryngoscopy is the only

method by which the larynx of children can be seen. The procedure need

require less than a minute of time, and an accurate diagnosis of the

condition present, whether papilloma, foreign body, diphtheria,

paralysis, etc., may be thus obtained. The posterior pharyngeal wall

should be examined in all dyspneic children for the possible existence

of retropharyngeal abscess.



1, Epiglottis of child as seen by direct laryngoscopy in the

recumbent position.

2, Normal larynx spasmodically closed, as is usual on first exposure

without anesthesia.

3, Same on inspiration.

4, Supraglottic papillomata as seen on direct laryngoscopy in a

child of two years.

5, Cyst of the larynx in a child of four years, seen on direct

laryngoscopy without anesthesia.

6, Indirect view of larynx eight weeks after thyrotomy for cancer of

the right cord in a man of fifty years.

7, Same after two years. An adventitious band indistinguishable from

the original one has replaced the lost cord.

8, Condition of the larynx three years after hemilaryngectomy for

epithelioma in a patient fifty-one years of age. Thyrotomy revealed

such extensive involvement, with an open ulceration which had reached

the perichondrium, that the entire left wing of the thyroid cartilage

was removed with the left arytenoid. A sufficiently wide removal was

accomplished without removing any part of the esophageal wall below

the level of the crico-arytenoid joint. There is no attempt on the

part of nature to form an adventitious cord on the left side. The

normal arytenoid drew the normal cord over, approximately to the edge

of the cicatricial tissue of the operated side. The voice, at first a

very hoarse whisper, eventually was fairly loud, though slightly husky

and inflexible.

9, The pharynx seen one year after laryngectomy for endothelioma in

a man aged sixty-eight years. The purple papilla; anteriorly are at

the base of the tongue, and from this the mucosa slopes downward and

backward smoothly into the esophagus. There are some slight folds

toward the left and some of these are quite cicatricial. The

epiglottis was removed at operation. The trachea was sutured to the

skin and did not communicate with the pharynx. (Direct view.)]