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Swallowing Evaluation

What does the Speech-Language Pathologist do?

Clinical Swallow Evaluation:

  • This is done in the speech therapy clinic or at bedside. It includes a thorough history-taking and evaluation of the strength, movement, and coordination of muscles of the mouth and throat used in chewing and swallowing. The speech-language pathologist will evaluate the patient while eating and drinking.

Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)

  • Also known as the "modified barium swallow" study, this study is done in the Xray Imaging Dept. with a physician, Radiologist, and speech-language pathologist present. A small amount of barium in solid and liquid consistencies is swallowed. This allows viewing of swallowing using a moving xray. Therapy strategies may be attempted. No preparation is required before coming for this procedure; it is not necessary to fast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are some swallowing problems related to acid reflux?

Chronic acid reflux may irritate the throat tissues and interfere with the initiation of swallowing. Persons with reflux disease are at risk of aspirating refluxed material. Symptoms of reflux include coughing between meals, excess phlegm, or the sensation of food stuck in the throat. There is no speech therapy treatment for esophageal problems, however, a swallow evaluation by Speech Pathology may help differentiate neurogenic dysphagia from a swallowing problem related to reflux.

Who is eligible for a swallow evaluation?

Chelsea Rehabilitation Speech-Language Pathology services are available to those who have a physician referral for Speech-Language Pathology. Most insurances will cover these services. To refer a patient for a swallow evaluation, please call the Speech Pathology Department at 734-593-5600.

Is it necessary to fast before coming in for a swallowing evaluation?

No, it is not necessary to fast before either a clinical swallow evaluation or a videofluoroscopic swallow study. Follow your normal eating and diet routine before coming in for these tests.

What type of treatment is provided?

  • Mouth exercises and swallowing strategies
  • Altering food and drink consistencies to help with safe swallow

If you need help finding a physician, please call our Physician Referral Line at 734-593-5899.

Downloads

Swallowing Evaluation Information for Outpatients

Appointment/Contact Information

Call for appointments: 734-593-5620
Email Us

Location

Inside the main hospital off the main hallway.

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St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea | 775 South Main Street, Chelsea, MI 48118 | 734-593-6000