Swallowing Disorders / Dysphagia
Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder where the patient is not able to move food from the mouth to the stomach. This condition is often linked to a neurological disorder such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Dysphagia can also be related to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Dysphagia can affect any of the 3 stages of swallowing: oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal.
Depending on the type of swallowing disorder, a variety of noninvasive and minimally invasive treatments to alleviate the condition. For example, changes to the diet, physical therapy, swallowing therapy, drug therapy and in some cases, Botox® injections can help. In extreme situations, the patient could need surgery or feeding tubes.
Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a test performed to diagnose swallowing difficulties. FEES is performed endoscopically, with a thin, lighted camera known as an endoscope placed into the throat before the patient consumes several different foods with food coloring that can be easily monitored as they travel down the throat.
Modified barium swallowing study is also known as a cookie swallow or a videofluoroscopy, a modified barium swallowing study is performed to diagnose swallowing or speaking problems. Patients fast for several hours before the test. Then for the test, the patient will be given a contrast solution to swallow, which will highlight the various structures associated with swallowing and speaking onto the fluoroscope used during this exam. Patients are then asked to swallow numerous barium preparations of differing consistencies so that the doctor can watch the barium travel down the esophagus.