Flexible Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing (FEES) has been utilized to diagnose swallowing disorders since the 1980s.
The endoscope is passed through the nose to view the larynx and other structures. We use lubricant for increased comfort.
Due to the intricate relationship between breathing and swallowing, we are able to assess the functional aspects of the upper airway.
FEES can be very reliable at determining laryngopharyngeal abnormalities (e.g., arytenoid edema, granuloma, vocal fold paresis, diffuse edema, airway stenosis, ulcer).
FEES can easily visualize secretions; the accumulation of secretions observed during FEES is highly predictive of aspiration.
High level disinfection is utilized after each use, following manufacturer's guidelines. Infection control is a top priority.
A FEES exam is not painful. Cohen (2003) performed a study on 349 FEES exams. 98% of the patients stated that they would repeat the test in the future.
A FEES exam allows for observation of retrograde flow of material upward through the Upper Esophageal Sphincter (UES).
Although a FEES exam does not directly visualize the bolus moving through the oral cavity, we can assess base of tongue movement, premature spillage of the bolus and oral transit timing.
Langmore (2017) states that FEES has been shown to be extremely safe.