Advanced Swallowing Evaluation & Therapies at Wake Forest Baptist
experienced team of speech-language pathologists and laryngologists at Wake Forest Baptist offer several
outpatient therapies to treat dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. As a first
step in swallowing treatment, we evaluate swallowing function using advanced techniques that
illustrate, in real time, how food and liquids are swallowed, how the muscles work, and if
aspiration occurs during the swallowing process. We then use this information
to develop individualized treatment plans.
evaluation tests may include:
- Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
The FEES is a swallowing evaluation where a small endoscope is gently
passed through the nose to visualize the throat. The patient is given various
food and liquids so that swallowing can be viewed in real time. Food and liquid
is typically dyed green to allow for increased visualization.
- Modified Barium Swallowing Study (MBS)
A MBS, or Pharyngeal Function Study, is an x-ray of the
swallowing process, performed in conjunction with a radiologist. This test is
typically done for patients who have difficulty swallowing liquids, solids, or
patient is given a variety of food and liquid mixed with Barium, a contrast material
that shows up on the x-ray when you swallow.
Therapies & Treatments
We use the
latest technology to help patients strengthen weakened muscles in the mouth and
throat, improve timing and coordination of the swallow, enhance airway
protection and increase attention to respiratory pattern during the swallow. Swallowing
therapies are customized for each patient and may include:
sEMG biofeedback, small electrodes are placed under the patient’s chin to
measure contraction of the swallowing muscles, and the data is displayed on a
computer monitor in real time. This provides visual biofeedback that helps
patients improve swallowing effort.
manometry can be used to evaluate and improve tongue strength. Small air-filled
bulbs are placed on the tongue. The patient then presses the bulbs against the
roof of the mouth, while a computer screen monitors the activity. This provides
visual biofeedback during tongue strengthening exercises.
- Respiratory Biofeedback
Respiratory biofeedback can be utilized to increase attention to
respiration during the swallow. The patient wears a nasal cannula to measure
inspiration and exhalation during swallowing, which is captured in conjunction
with sEMG. This allows for visual biofeedback of the respiratory pattern to
improve the coordination of respiration and swallowing.
- Endoscopic Biofeedback
An endoscope is placed transnally to allow visualization of the throat.
The patient is able to practice swallowing exercises, maneuvers and strategies.
This allows for increased awareness of targeted outcomes.
placing small electrodes under the chin and using electrical current to
stimulate the muscles in the neck area and improve swallowing. This is performed together
with traditional swallowing exercises and lingual manometry.
Outpatient dysphagia therapy requires
time, energy and dedication from the patient. Patients may need to work with
the speech-language pathologist two or three times per week, for a number of
weeks, to improve swallowing function and will be given swallowing exercises to
practice at home. We can provide more frequent swallowing therapy sessions for patients
who live out of town.
Make an Appointment for your Voice or Swallowing Evaluation
Call 716-WAKE or request an appointment online.