Swallowing Disorders: Diagnosing and Managing Dysphagia

Dysphagia is the medical term for swallowing disorders. In Pittsfield, MA, Dr. Giulio Cavalli is a board-certified Otolaryngologist, who specializes in diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. He diagnoses and treats many different diseases that can make life difficult for those who suffer. In order to diagnose what is causing the condition, there are several tests that may be performed.

Bedside Swallow Screen

This is often the first test that is given to determine if you are suffering from a swallowing disorder. This test can be done by a doctor or other health care professional such as an occupational therapist. You will be seated in a chair or on a bed. It begins with a lot of questions about exactly what is going on, and then you will be given different things to eat and drink. The person giving the test will observe any difficulty you have with the different things you have swallowed. 

Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow (FEES)

This test will be done as you sit on a chair or bed. A tube with a light and a camera will be inserted into your nose, and then you will be asked to eat different foods and drinks. The doctor will be able to watch the food go down. 

Upper endoscopy

You will be lying down on an examination table for this test. You will be given a sedative to help you to relax. The endoscope will be inserted into your mouth, and it will go down through your esophagus to your stomach and small intestine. This takes pictures and allows your doctor to take samples to biopsy if necessary. 

Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)

In this test, which is also known as a modified barium swallow, you will be sitting on an x-ray table or standing. You will be given food and liquids that are coated in barium. Barium will show up on an x-ray, and they will be able to see exactly what happens to things that you swallow. 

Managing a swallowing disorder in Pittsfield, MA

Your ENT may recommend a speech pathologist to help you with exercises that can make swallowing easier.  You may need to eat foods that are easier to swallow or eat slower and chew longer. The goal is to make sure that you get enough calories to maintain your weight. You also need to avoid choking. In extreme cases, you may require a feeding tube to provide the nutrition you need. 

If you are suffering from a swallowing disorder in Pittsfield, MA, Dr. Cavalli is accepting new patients and is able to provide the diagnosis and treatment that you require. Give the office a call at (413) 443-6116 to make an appointment.