Singers, performers, and celebrities often get the lime light when they are suffering from any kind of vocal problem. If there are any kind of rips, strain, or odd bumps on the vocal cords, their shows or performances are cancelled while they get a procedure done and give their body time to heal. The truth is that many people suffer from these problems--not just those who perform for a living. There are many different reasons for problems with speech and swallowing including vocal cord paralysis, acid reflux, polyps and cysts on the vocal cords, scarring, and even different types of cancers. There are many different types of treatments available for almost all of these problems.
Getting a First Look
The first evaluation with a speech language pathologist, or SLP, will usually lead to different tests. Initial observations and questions are focused on seeing how well you are able to move our mouth muscles, clarify your words, and handle different foods and liquids. A thorough head and neck examination are done and also a complete family medical history is taken.
If the SLP requires a better look into your ability to swallow, they may ask for an Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing, also referred to as Fiber optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). This is a test where the SLP uses an endoscope, a small tube with a light and camera on the end, to go down your throat. The video allows a better, closer look at different parts of your mouth and throat to more accurately diagnosis your condition.
While every condition is going to have its own treatment regimen, many of these throat conditions require surgery to remove nodes, repair a tear, or clear the airway. Like so many other cutting edge areas of science, lasers are used to create a finer level of precision and faster recovery for the patient. Lasers also are less intrusive which means the surgeries are less invasive with this method.
Throat problems rarely are cured with surgery alone. Following the procedures, SLP's will bring patients back in to go through different types of therapy. The most common ones are speech pathology for learning to breath, swallow, and talk again with speech and occupational therapies. Since the ear, nose, and throat regions have so much impact on balance, sometimes physical therapy is also required. If cancer is at the root of the problem, sometimes radiation is also required along with annual doctor's visits.
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