Swallowing Disorders

A variety of problems and disorders can lead to swallowing disorders including narrowing and obstructions and stroke and other problems of the brain and nervous system.

The Laryngology Division specializes in hard-to-treat swallowing problems, most stemming from masses, swellings and non-stroke neurological problems, including multiple sclerosis, bulbar palsy disorders, Chiari malformation, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and others.

A small percentage of non-stroke swallowing problems can be treated surgically. However in most cases, surgery is not the best course of action. The laryngology staff prefers, when possible, to employ a strategy combining swallowing therapy, dilation and Botox to relax the upper esophagus, clearing the way for food and liquids into the upper gastrointestinal tract.

With both medical and clinical professionals experienced in non-stroke swallowing problems, the Laryngology Division is well equipped for very precise diagnosis – determining the exact cause and nature of the problem to plan the best possible strategy for improvement. Swallowing problems are managed through a multi-disciplinary team approach with doctors, pathologists and other voice experts from both Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass. General Hospital.