What is FEES?
FEES stands for Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. FEES is a study designed to evaluate the swallowing mechanism. The study requires the passage of a flexible fiberoptic endoscope into the nose to the nasopharynx (high in the back of the throat) in order to visualize the back of the tongue and throat to observe the actual swallow in progress.
Who performs the exam?
FEES is performed by our speech-language pathologists at our West Toledo Office (Woodley Road) and East Office in Oregon. An otolaryngologist (Ear-Nose-Throat physician) is available during testing and reviews all results of the study to give recommendations for your plan of care.
Why is FEES performed?
FEES is performed to investigate a swallowing problem or symptoms of reflux into the throat. These symptoms may include difficulty getting food/pills down, choking on food or liquids, frequent throat clearing, and /or voice changes. This test allows the examiners to directly observe the movement of the food from the back of the mouth through the throat, and into the esophagus. It is important to see how the throat muscles move and if food/liquid is being moved safely into the esophagus.
How is FEES performed?
You will be seated comfortably in an examination chair for your FEES study. The speech-language pathologist will review your symptoms and collect any diagnostic information related to your swallowing difficulties.
A topical anesthetic nasal spray will be applied to each nostril for your comfort during the exam and to ease passage of the endoscope through the nose. This is optional.
The speech-language pathologist will place the endoscope, inserting through one nostril and passing until they can visualize the back of your throat.
While the endoscope is in place, you will be given bites of food and liquids of varying consistencies colored with food dye. Dye is used so that foods are clearly visualized in the throat.
The speech-language pathologist will record the test on video and discuss results with you immediately. Your ENT doctor will be given a written report and pictures for review so that further recommendations can be given. You should schedule a follow-up appointment with your ENT docotr. Depending on your test results, it may be recommended for you to participate in speech therapy to improve your swallow function which is typically 1-3 times per week.
How long does the exam take?
Your entire appointment may last 25-35 minutes; however, the endoscope is only in place for approximately 3-8 minutes depending on the extent of your swallowing difficulty.
What do I need to do to prepare for the exam?
No preparation is needed for your FEES. You may bring foods that you are having difficulty swallowing, if you wish, which can be used during the study. However, our standard trial foods and liquids are provided by the office
How do I schedule this appointment?
If you have any questions or are unable to keep your appointment, please call our West Toledo Office (3829 Woodley Road, Building B) at 419-474-9324 or Fremont Office at 419-332-2803.