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Voice and Swallowing Disorders: Diagnostic Tests

Innovative testing to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment

People develop vocal and swallowing disorders for many reasons, from vocal abuse to allergies to cancer. The physicians at The University of Kansas Hospital have access to the industry’s most advanced diagnostic tools to help determine the cause of these problems.

Diagnosis begins with a detailed history and a thorough physical examination. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs may be performed. Your doctor may also recommend some of the following tests:

  • Computerized Acoustic Analysis
    This test measures irregularities in sound produced by the movement of vocal folds.
  • Electroglottography
    Vocal cord movement is measured through a non-invasive device that is strapped around the neck.
  • Electromyography
    Small needle electrodes are inserted into voice box muscles to evaluate the health of the muscles and nerves.
  • Esophageal Insufflation
    Air is pushed through a small, flexible tube into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach) to determine its ability to generate sound.
  • Esophageal Manometry Study
    A small probe is placed through the nose and into the stomach. The tube is connected to a computer that displays readings on muscle contractions.
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
    A flexible tube with a light at one end and a camera at the other is inserted into the nose and into the middle of the throat. Pictures of the throat and voice box are taken as the patient swallows liquid and food.
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing (FEESST)
    This is performed as an add-on to the FEES test. Air pulses are delivered through the tube to evaluate swallowing ability and sensation.
  • Flexible Laryngoscopy
    A flexible tube with a light at one end and a camera at the other is inserted into the nose to allow doctors to view the vocal folds.
  • Manofluorography
    A catheter is placed through the nose into the throat to videotape the swallowing motion and to measure muscle contraction, strength and coordination of swallowing muscles.
  • Mirror Exam
    A tiny mirror is placed at the back of the throat so doctors can inspect vocal folds.
  • pH Study
    A thin probe is placed through the nose into the throat to measure acid levels.
  • Transnasal Esophagoscopy
    An in-clinic test where a thin tube with a camera is placed through the nose to throat and esophagus so the physician can view and assess swallowing problems.
  • Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study
    As the patient swallows liquid or foods, X-rays are taken of the mouth, throat and esophagus. These show whether food and liquid are passing efficiently from the mouth through the throat and into the esophagus.
  • Videolaryngostroboscopy
    This procedure uses high-speed flashes of light to produce images of vocal folds in slow motion. Physicians and speech therapists study the detailed images to form accurate treatment plans for patients with voice disorders.
  • Voice Analysis by Trained Speech Pathologists
    We can evaluate the voice and develop a treatment plan for professional actors, singers, voice talent and other patients. Our speech pathologists also provide voice therapy at the Voice and Swallowing Center.