Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

Test Overview

A fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a test that looks at your mouth and throat to see how you swallow. The test uses a thin, lighted tube with a camera. The tube goes into your nose and down your throat. The camera records as you swallow, and the doctor or speech-language pathologist watches on a screen.

You'll be awake during the test, and your nose and throat may be numbed with a medicine. You will probably be asked to swallow food and water as part of the test. The doctor may take a small tissue sample (biopsy).

After the test, your throat or nose may feel numb or sore. These things usually go away quickly. You will probably be able to go back to work or your normal routine that same day.

Why It Is Done

This test is done if you are having problems with swallowing, such as pain when you swallow. If you are doing treatment for swallowing, the test may be done to see if it's helping.

How to Prepare

You may be asked not to eat or drink for 1 to 2 hours before the test. Tell your doctor about any surgery you've had to your nose, throat, or neck. Also tell the doctor about any medicines you take.

Risks

Risks of this test include:

  • Nose and throat discomfort.
  • Gagging and vomiting.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Fainting.

Other rare risks include:

  • A spasm in your voice box (larynx) that makes breathing difficult.
  • A small tear in the lining of the throat.
  • An allergic reaction.

Results

A normal result means that no problems with swallowing were found.

If you have an abnormal result, you and your doctor will decide on your treatment. Your doctor may recommend that you start swallowing therapy. You may be asked to follow a special food diet. You may need follow-up tests. If you had a tissue sample taken (biopsy), getting your lab results may take several days or more.

Credits

Current as of: March 30, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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