Swallowing evaluations are offered for individuals with swallowing difficulties, called dysphagia. Individuals with dysphagia may be at risk for aspiration, which occurs when food or drink enters the windpipe, potentially going into the lungs and increasing the risk for developing an infection of the lungs called aspiration pneumonia. Swallowing problems may also increase risk for dehydration and malnutrition.


Based on the information gathered in these evaluations, the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) consults with the individual's physician to determine the best way to meet nutritional needs. This may include a change in diet, use of strategies to make swallowing safer and easier, and swallowing treatment with an SLP. Modified Barium Swallow is available at UM UCMC and Aberdeen and Fiber Optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) is available at UM UCMC. Both require a doctor's order.

Modified Barium Swallow

An MBS is an X-ray of swallowing function to test the ability to swallow food and drink safely and comfortably. An SLP performs the study along with a radiologist. It provides valuable information for assessing and treating swallowing problems. It does involve a small amount of radiation exposure and may not be suitable for all individuals.

Fiber Optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

A FEES study is a type of swallowing assessment that can be done on an outpatient basis. A small scope is inserted into the nasal area and down to the throat to visualize the larynx. Then the patient is asked to eat and drink small amounts while the camera records swallowing function, airway protection and vocal cord movement.