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 Swallowing Evaluation and Treatment Services

The Swallowing Evaluation and Treatment Services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center works with patients who have difficulty with swallowing, also referred to as dysphagia, which causes problems with food or liquids getting from your mouth to your stomach. Our speech-language pathologists specialize in the treatment and evaluation of swallowing disorders. They will work with you to determine the cause of the swallowing deficit and develop a personalized treatment plan to assure you can eat safely and get proper nutrition.

Our Patients

Swallowing issues can affect individuals across the lifespan from children to the elderly.

We treat adolescent and adult patients with:

  • Neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Stroke (blocked or bleeding blood vessel in the brain)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic injuries to the brain or body 
  • Critical illnesses (diseases in which death is possible or imminent)
  • Tracheostomy (surgery on the neck to open a direct airway by an incision to the windpipe into which a tube is inserted)
  • Ventilator dependency (requiring a device that assists with breathing for a prolonged period of time)

Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center is one of the largest and most diverse academic medical centers in the country — and the only academic medical center in central Ohio.

There are many reasons to choose our programs and services:

  • Our speech-language pathologists use state-of-the-art, comprehensive and 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).
  • We are proud that our Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs at Dodd Hall and Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF recognized our programs as meeting the highest standards in quality, safety and outcome measures, which provide risk-reduction and accountability in our patient care.
  • For 19 consecutive years, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's rehabilitation program has been ranked among the best in the country by U.S.News & World Report.
  • Since The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is an academic medical center, you benefit from innovative research, a depth of medical expertise and the newest technologies and treatment techniques available.

Our Services

This program offers rehabilitation services to help in each phase of your rehabilitation – from services offered in the hospital (known as inpatient services) to those offered after returning home (known as outpatient services). These services offer a continuum of care to help 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.

Your Treatment Team

If you are diagnosed with dysphagia, you will work with the appropriate team members for your treatment.

Your personalized treatment plan is implemented by a team of specialists who may include:

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

Care Locations for Outpatient Swallow Evaluations

  • University Hospital East
        1492 E. Broad Street
        Columbus, OH 43205
        Make an appointment: 614-257-2222
        Map and Directions
    Service Offered: Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS)
    Procedure will take place in the Radiology Department – 1st Floor

  • Dodd Hall Rehabilitation 
       480 Medical Center Dr.
       Columbus, OH 43210
       Make an appointment: 614-293-5275 (This is for FEES appointments only) 
       Map and Directions 
    Service Offered: Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

Additional Specialized Services

Your rehabilitation team may recommend additional rehab services that may include:


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