Ohio State treatment to improve a swallowing disorder can support better overall health and wellness.

The Swallowing Evaluation and Treatment Services at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center help people who have difficulty swallowing.

Generally called dysphagia, this disorder interferes with the passage of food or liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Ohio State’s speech-language pathologists specialize in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders. These specialists will work with you to determine the cause of your swallowing problem and develop a personalized treatment plan. The goal is to improve your overall health with an emphasis on safety, comfort and better nutrition.

Our Patients

Swallowing issues can affect people at any age and result from:

Why choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

Ohio State’s comprehensive rehabilitative care programs help people overcome swallowing difficulties and improve their nutrition and health.  Here’s why people with swallowing disorders choose Ohio State:

Personalized Care: You will receive a personal evaluation that helps create an individualized care plan to meet your needs and lead you toward your health goals. We will help you learn the skills and techniques you need to improve your abilities at work, home and social settings.

Unique Services: Ohio State’s speech-language pathologists use comprehensive, evidence-based treatments to evaluate and treat swallowing disorders. Our program has one of the few speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the country who is a Board-Recognized Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BRS-S).

Accredited Programs: We are proud that our Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs at Dodd Hall and our Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF recognizes our programs as meeting the highest standards in quality, safety and outcome measures, which provide risk-reduction and accountability in our patient care.

Nation’s Best: Ohio State’s rehabilitation program consistently ranks among the best in the nation. As an academic medical center, Ohio State offers comprehensive medical expertise, the most advanced technologies and treatment techniques, and innovative care backed by research knowledge.

Our Services

Our Services

This program offers rehabilitation services to help in each phase of your rehabilitation — from services offered in the hospital (inpatient services) to those offered after returning home (outpatient services). These services help you achieve your highest level of recovery.

As part of your evaluation and treatment, our speech-language pathologists may use some of the specific evaluations, tests and treatments listed below:

  • Clinical Bedside Swallow Evaluation – An evaluation done bedside at the hospital or in a clinic by a speech-language pathologist to evaluate swallowing problems
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) – A specialized test using a small camera inserted through the nose to the throat to evaluate a swallowing problem and determine the safest diet
  • Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) – A specialized test using a moving X-ray to evaluate a swallowing disorder and determine an appropriate diet
  • Iowa Oral Pressure Instrument (IOPI) – An instrument that measures the strength of the tongue and can be used in therapy to improve the strength of the tongue
  • Myofascial Release Techniques – A form of massage where the affected muscle areas are massaged to improve flexibility and function
  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) – Application of electrical stimulation to a group of muscles using electrodes placed on the skin. This is performed using the VitalStim® Therapy System, a therapeutic intervention that uses small electrical currents to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing.

Treatment Team

Your Treatment Team

If you are diagnosed with dysphagia, you will work with the appropriate team members for your treatment. Your personalized treatment plan starts with a team of specialists who may include:

  • Speech-language pathologists who specialize in helping patients improve communication, cognition and swallowing
  • Gastroenterologists who specialize in disorders of the digestive system
  • Neurologists who specialize in disorders of the nervous system
  • Otolaryngologists who specialize in treatment of ear, nose and throat disorders
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians or physiatrists who specialize in helping people regain body functions lost due to medical conditions or injuries
  • Psychologists who specialize in clinical psychology, counseling or guidance
  • Pulmonologists who specialize in disorders of the lungs
  • Discharge planners who specialize in arranging the care patients need following a hospital stay
  • Nurses who specialize in patient care, health promotion and disease prevention
  • Occupational therapists who specialize in improving patients' ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Physical therapists who specialize in helping patients achieve maximum strength, balance and mobility
  • Respiratory therapists who specialize in assessing and treating breathing disorders
  • Social workers who specialize in the social, emotional and financial needs of families and patients
  • Dietitians who specialize in nutrition and dietetics

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