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    Swallowing Therapy

"Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale."
Elsa Schiaparelli

Swallowing TherapySwallowing is as necessary to your life as breathing. Under normal circumstances, we depend on swallowing to obtain the nutrients we need to survive. Dysphagia, or disordered swallowing, can lead to a life-threatening infection in the lungs called aspiration pneumonia which results when food or liquid enters the trachea (windpipe) instead of the esophagus. Dysphagia affects as many as 15 million Americans. One in 17 people will develop some form of dysphagia in their lifetime.

    What We Can Do to Help

Swallowing Evaluation

At NY Speech Consultants, you will receive a comprehensive feeding and swallowing evaluation. If recent objective testing has not been done, you will be referred for a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS) or Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing (FEESST) before swallowing treatment can begin.

Swallowing Therapy at NYSC

Our primary goal is to improve the patient's swallowing function so that he or she can safely tolerate the least restrictive diet. We provide the following treatment techniques:

  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles involved in swallowing
  • Sensory stimulation activities
  • Compensatory feeding/swallowing strategies
  • VitalStim Swallowing Therapy is a breakthrough therapeutic intervention for the treatment of swallowing disorders. It is a specialized form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). VitalStim Therapy is a non-invasive external electrical stimulation therapy that reeducates the throat muscles. Surface electrodes are applied to the muscles of the face and throat to facilitate swallowing. Following physician referral, VitalStim Therapy is administered by our speech-language pathologist who is certified in the use of this technique. The therapy sessions are conducted 3-5 days a week until maximum improvement has been achieved. Patients frequently see dramatic improvement in 6-20 sessions - sometimes in as few as 3 sessions.

    Patient receiving VitalStim therapyVitalStim was cleared by the FDA in June of 2001 following a long-term study of nearly 900 patients. VitalStim Therapy has been shown to be effective in patients who have had a swallowing impairment for as long as 40 years. In a 3-year follow-up study submitted to the FDA, long-term effectiveness was demonstrated as patients maintained improvement in swallow function for up to 3 years following treatment.

    For more information about VitalStim Therapy, please visit www.vitalstimtherapy.com

The following information was obtained from www.asha.org

Patient receiving VitalStim therapyCauses of feeding and swallowing problems in adults:

Damage to the nervous system, such as:

Problems affecting the head and neck, including:

  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus
  • Decayed or missing teeth, or poorly fitting dentures
  • Injury or surgery involving the head and neck.

Many other diseases (such as Myasthenia Gravis), conditions (such as Stevens Johnson Syndrome), or surgery can also result in swallowing problems.

Common signs of a swallowing problem:

  • coughing or clearing your throat during or right after eating or drinking
  • wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • Patient receiving VitalStim therapyextra effort or time needed to chew or swallow
  • food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • difficulty managing your saliva
  • recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • weight loss or dehydration from inadequate nutrition or hydration.

If you have any of these signs, you should be seen for a swallowing evaluation.

516-355-6001Call us today at 516-355-6001.

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