How does FEES® work?

During the procedure, a flexible endoscope is introduced transnasally to the patient’s hypopharynx where the SLP can clearly view laryngeal and pharyngeal structures. The patient is then led through various tasks to evaluate the sensory and motor status of the pharyngeal and laryngeal mechanism. Food and/or liquids are then given to the patient so that the integrity of the pharyngeal swallow can be determined.

How long does it take?

The procedure typically takes between 10-15 minutes (excluding set-up time and education), however, the scope can record for as long as needed to assess factors such as fatigue, compensatory strategies, identify signs of reflux, etc.

How does billing work?

Billing can seem like a complicated matter, but it doesn't need to be. After completing the procedure, we drop off an invoice to your billing department that same day. Reimbursement rates for the procedure varies depending on your location, however, our team can work with your office manager to determine reimbursement for patients that qualify.

What if I don’t think my patient will participate?

If your patient can swallow, then they can participate. We have to remember that with the older, geriatric population, the patients are much more desensitized than the general public. Many patients with dementia or even generalized anxiety have participated beautifully, in fact we have a 100% scoping success rate with this population. We can’t assume that they won’t participate if we don’t try. Remember, we do not charge if we are unable to pass the scope, so if you are questioning if someone can or will participate? Give us a call! We’ll give it a whirl, and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Is FEES considered a “Gold Standard” Assessment?

Videofluoroscopy (MBSS) has long been viewed as the "gold standard" for evaluation of a swallowing disorder for the comprehensive information it provides. However, it is not very efficient and accessible in certain clinical and practical situations. In addition, MBSS does not allow for the assessment of soft tissue and airway patency, which is an integral component of swallowing function. FEES has been shown to be as equally safe and effective for swallowing evaluation. In fact, multiple research articles have also repeatedly proven that FEES is just as accurate and with even better sensitivity and specificity than MBSS.

Visit our Research and Literature page to learn more

Which patients benefit most from FEES®?

Although FEES can be performed on virtually any person of any age, the follow populations benefit greatly from endoscopy:

Patients who easily fatigue

Patients unable to leave contact isolation rooms

Suspected aspiration of secretions

Suspected laryngopharyngeal reflux

Patients with known vocal fold paresis or paralysis

Patients with contractures or decubitus ulcers who cannot maintain upright positioning

Suspected intubation/extubation trauma, including edema pr erythema

Ventilator dependent patients

Patients with chronically wet vocal quality or throat clearing

Dementia or TBI patients who are routinely confused and/or unable to follow commands

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