Center for Swallowing Disorders

Center for Swallowing Disorders

The ability to swallow food and liquid is one of our body’s most important functions for sustaining life as well as a major component of socialization, community interaction and quality of life.

Difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, may be caused by problems of the brain or nervous system such as a stroke, brain or spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Myasthenia Gravis (M6) and Parkinson’s Disease. Other causes of swallowing disorders include gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and head and neck cancer.

Traditional treatment methods for dysphagia involve managing the condition with diet modifications and exercise. At Siskin Hospital, we also offer the latest evidence-based protocol using exercise principles and biofeedback training. We also offer neuromuscular electrical stimulation to best meet the needs of our patients.

Swallowing disorders pose considerable risk to the patient because of the potential effects such as malnutrition, dehydration and pneumonia.

Our mission is to provide state-of-the-art treatment of dysphagia to ensure the health and well-being of our patients. 

Our Staff

Our experienced Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are trained in clinical and instrumental evaluation of a wide range of swallowing disorders. From the evaluation findings, a comprehensive treatment plan is developed to improve swallowing function, minimize risk of aspiration and return the person to safe eating as soon as possible.

Special features of Siskin Hospital’s Swallowing Therapy Program:

Siskin Hospital is the ONLY rehabilitation center in Chattanooga that has on-site instrumental assessment of swallowing with videofluoroscopy or Modified Barium Swallow Study.

  • This means that you do not have to leave our facility to have your x-ray swallowing
    test repeated AND the therapist that has been working on your swallowing problem
    can actually perform the swallowing test, as opposed to having to transport to or
    schedule with another facility where the performing SLP may not be as familiar with
    your case.
  • Use of a special medical rehabilitation device provides biofeedback and
    measures the strength of your tongue and lip muscles. This is important because
    the tongue and lips are essential in producing a strong swallow.
  • We have several speech-language pathologists trained in the use of electrical
    stimulation to facilitate progress with swallowing, along with the use of traditional
    and other swallowing therapy techniques.
  • We have speech-language pathologists trained in the use of myofascial release
    for the treatment of tight muscles (head and neck cancer/radiation effects).
  • We have therapeutic dining programs where patients can learn to use
    maneuvers/strategies to swallow more safely with the supervision and
    encouragement of therapists and nursing staff.

Modified Barium Swallow Study is a video x-ray taken while the patient is eating and
drinking. The addition of barium to foods and liquids will allow these items to be visible
on the x-ray.  The SLP typically observes the patient from a side view to evaluate the
passage of the food and liquid through the mouth and throat. This procedure has the
advantage of viewing the oral and upper esophageal phases of swallowing and can
provide information regarding the function of the swallowing anatomy. This enables the
clinician to recommend safe food textures and to evaluate for treatment strategies that
ensure the plan for swallowing therapy is targeting the appropriate areas.

For more information about the Swallowing Therapy Program at Siskin Hospital, email SLP@siskinrehab.org.

Call to insist on Siskin 423.634.1400
or email outpatient@siskinrehab.org

Region's ONLY Rehab Hospital

with on-site Modified Barium Swallow Studies.