What is FEES?

Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) is a specialized instrumental study used to assess swallowing function. This procedure involves the use of a flexible endoscope, which is gently inserted through the patient’s nose and advanced to the back of the throat. Equipped with a camera, the endoscope provides a clear view of the pharynx, larynx, and upper esophageal opening, allowing for a detailed examination of these areas.

During the FEES exam, the patient is given various food and drink items, which are dyed green or blue for enhanced visibility. This helps the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) observe the swallowing process in real-time. The SLP evaluates the efficiency and safety of the swallow, determines the most appropriate diet level, and identifies any signs of aspiration (when food or liquid enters the airway).

FEES is particularly valuable for patients with dysphagia, a condition characterized by difficulty swallowing. Conducted by a qualified and licensed SLP who has undergone extensive training to perform FEES, this exam provides crucial information that guides the development of personalized treatment plans to improve swallowing safety and nutrition. This procedure is essential in the management and rehabilitation of individuals with swallowing disorders, contributing significantly to their overall quality of life.

First Expressions will soon be able to provide FEES exams to patients in the following settings starting July 2024:

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities 
  • Subacute Facilities
  • Long-Term Acute Facilities
  • Hospitals