Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a well-known procedure that has advanced the field of dysphagia assessment. FEES is an accurate and safe method that provides pertinent data regarding the physiology of the pharyngeal phase of the swallow and airway protection while swallowing. The procedure involves passing a small flexible endoscope along the floor of the nose into the pharynx. This technology allows the larynx, pharynx, and upper esophageal opening to be viewed during the swallow in full color endoscopic imaging. The patient is then provided with different food and liquid consistencies in order to determine safe swallowing function. FEES can easily be done in the office setting. There is no anesthesia, no barium, and no radiation exposure.
FEES provides assessment of common dysphagia symptoms including and not limited to: coughing and choking with meals, vocal related changes when swallowing, gastric reflux, feeling of food or pills sticking in the throat, throat discomfort when swallowing, increased phlegm during meals, and frequent throat clearing with meals. The FEES exam is an excellent component to the complete dysphagia diagnostic process and is performed by a specialty trained speech language pathologist.