What is a Functional Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)?
A FEES exam is usually performed during your initial consultation at MSAC. It provides a direct visual assessment of the anatomy and function of your upper aero-digestive tract at rest, with vocalization, and most importantly, with swallowing. The ENT Specialist inserts a small flexible video-endoscope through your nose. Unlike a routine nasendoscopy, local anaesthetic is often avoided, to ensure that you have unaltered sensation, movements and reflexes of your upper aero-digestive tract, for the FEES procedure. Despite this, it is usually only slightly uncomfortable.
The speech pathologist will give you a range of different dye stained foods and fluids with differing textures and consistencies, in order to assess how effectively they are swallowed. A key part of the assessment is checking whether any of these foods have entered the larynx (penetration) or travelled beyond the vocal folds into the trachea towards the lungs (aspiration).
You may be given specific strategies or exercises to improve your swallowing. This evaluation takes 10 minutes, and you do not have to fast for this procedure.