What Is a FEES Exam?
Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing, FEES, is an instrumental assessment of swallowing function utilizing a small fiberoptic camera to directly view the muscles of the throat during a swallow.
Instrumental assessment allows the therapist to view the pharyngeal or throat phase of swallowing in real time. This direct viewing of the muscles and structures of the throat is not possible at bedside and therefore limits the therapist ability to fully assess the specific nature of the disorder. The FEES exam will help determine if a swallowing disorder is present and its severity.
Additionally, a FEES exam helps establish specific compensatory strategies, strengthening activities necessary to improve swallowing, and recommendations regarding safety. All patients with a known or suspected diagnosis of dysphagia are candidates for an exam and should receive instrumental examination when possible and ordered by a physician.
What are the Benefits of FEES?
- Performed at patient’s bedside or natural environment.
- No Radiation.
- Immediate recommendations and written evaluation available following the exam.
- Flexible exam time allows for more accurate determination of appropriate swallowing maneuvers.
- Patient consumes food as prepared for them daily.
- Effects of fatigue may be assessed.
- Increases visualization of secretions including penetration into the airway.
- Visualization of mucosa for necessary referrals for suspected GERD, Cancer, lesions, paralysis, airway obstruction, etc.
- Covered by Medicare and most other insurance.