Swallowing

 

Dysphagia, or a swallowing difficulty, is common after neurologic insult, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or sometimes following surgery affecting the cranial nerves responsible for initiating the swallow reflex. Swallowing problems can also complicate many medical conditions, arise independent of other medical problems and simply progress with aging. Adequate and effective swallowing function is necessary for nutrition, hydration, protection from aspiration (food going down the "wrong pipe"), and for the full enjoyment of life.

We are able to evaluate and make treatment recommendations regarding swallowing deficits in all of our patients. Our goal is maintain safe patient care, reduce complications of dysphagia and to promote the highest quality of life. We want everyone to be able to eat what they want, or as close as possible to that standard. We work in concert with speech-language pathologists throughout our community and the entire country to provide both initial management and ongoing treatment for swallowing disorders. We also provide the full range of procedural treatments that are utilized to improve swallowing function. These include vocal fold medialization to improve cough and airway protection, laryngeal elevation procedures, esophageal dilatation, endoscopic pharyngeal and esophageal surgery as well as such extensive undertakings as total reconstruction of the upper digestive system.