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Swallowing Evaluation

FEES - Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing

A flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a test used to evaluate your swallowing function. A speech pathologist looks into your throat using an endoscope (a small flexible tube with a light attached) while you eat and drink. Your doctor should know if you have had any surgery to your neck, throat, or nose. Also, please inform the physician and speech pathologist if you have had any reactions to topical or local anesthetic agents in the past. You do not need someone to drive you home afterward.

During the procedure you will be sitting up in a chair. The speech pathologist will pass the endoscope through your nose and into the upper part of your throat. Your vocal cords and the top of your wind pipe will be seen on a monitor. You will be given food and drink to swallow during the test, and the speech pathologist will be able to see whether any material enters your windpipe. If you have swallowing problems you may be asked to try different techniques or positions while you swallow to see if they help. The food and drink used for the study are dyed green with food coloring to make them easier to see on the monitor. Some people experience mild discomfort during the procedure, which may include a feeling of pressure or tightness in the nose or a gagging sensation.

The FEES will test your ability to swallow food and drink safely and comfortably. If you have trouble swallowing you may be at risk for aspiration. Aspiration occurs when food or drink enters the windpipe, potentially going into the lungs. Aspiration may put you at risk for developing an infection of the lungs, called aspiration pneumonia. Swallowing problems may also put you at risk for not getting enough liquids or food (dehydration or malnutrition). Based on information from the study, the speech pathologist will help your doctor determine the best way for you to get the nutrition that you need. This may include changing your diet, using strategies to make swallowing safer and easier or other options.

Although the study usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes, the speech pathologist will review the results, discuss them with you, and determine the best nutrition plan with you and/or your doctor. A full report of the study will be given to your doctor. Please allow 45 minutes to one hour for your appointment.

Erin O. from Downingtown, PA

“I had stopped taking my allergy medicine and ended up with the worse sinus infection of my life. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County genuinely will provide you with the best care. I was overwhelmed by the kindness, concern, and sense of urgency everyone gave. My phone calls were returned promptly and time was made to see me in the office when it was an emergency.”

Connie J. from West Chester, PA

“I can say after years of coming to Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County, my relationship and trust with Dr. Marriotti has grown tremendously. He is personable, friendly and I appreciate his input with my hearing condition. The staff at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County is always cheery and pleasant. I enjoy my visits and always leave feeling like I am in good hands.”

Dauna P. from University Lincoln, PA

“I am so grateful for the care Dr. Picariello has given for my complex and serious brain diagnosis. He has made such an impression on the way the process was handled. I shall never forget him and how humble he was when dealing with my condition. He is truly one of the best around and I am fortunate for his high ethical standards and professionalism.”

Kathy S. from Schwenksvile, PA

“The knowledge, encouragement, concern, and individual attention the doctors of Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County had demonstrated was far beyond my expectations. The office atmosphere is professional yet friendly. The doctors know their profession well and are able to explain in basic understandable terms. They made sure we were comfortable and took their time going over everything extensively.”

James B., from Coatesville, PA

“The allergy shot process has been a great experience and has prevented a reoccurrence of my nasal polyps, and decreased the need for my asthma inhaler. The allergy staff is excellent.”