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Services

The Center for Voice and Swallowing offers a wide array of evaluation and treatment options for patients with various voice and swallowing disorders including vocal cord paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia, acid reflux, vocal polyps and cysts, sulcus vocalis and vocal scarring, as well as singer's nodules and other disorders of the professional voice. The Center also offers diagnostic and treatment options for papillomas and early stage larynx cancer, and for swallowing and voice problems due to Parkinson's disease, stroke and other neurological disorders.

This state-of-the-art voice center provides the full scope of diagnostic testing including:

  • Videolaryngostroboscopy

    Video laryngoscopy is a form of indirect laryngoscopy in which the clinician does not directly view the larynx. Instead, visualization of the larynx is performed with a fiberoptic or digital laryngoscope inserted through the nose or mouth.

  • Acoustic Analysis
  • A variety of in-office laryngeal procedures

The swallowing center provides comprehensive swallowing evaluation including:

  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

    FEES is a procedure that allows physicians to assess areas surrounding the voice box and opening of the esophagus, through the use of a small flexible telescope. The telescope is passed through the nose after anesthetizing this area to minimize pain or discomfort. Once the telescope is in position, you are given various foods to eat. The physician observes and evaluates the swallowing process.

  • Transnasal Esophagoscopy (TNE)

    TNE uses a camera that is passed through the nose as a way to examine the esophagus in patients at risk for esophageal cancer and other disorders. TNE doesn’t require sedation, unlike other techniques widely used to look into the esophagus. 

  • Pharyngeal Manometry

    This test evaluates your swallowing. Pharyngeal and upper sphincter manometry can detect the sphincter’s (muscle that maintains constriction of a natural body passage) failure to relax and assess the coordination between the contraction of the pharynx and the relaxation of the upper esophageal sphincter.

  • Barium Swallow

    A barium swallow (also called a contrast esophagram), is a series of x-rays of your esophagus. For the test, you will drink a barium-containing liquid, which coats the inside of the esophagus and makes its shape and contours appear on x-rays. As the liquid moves from the mouth down to the esophagus, the physician can assess any narrowing, enlargement or abnormalities. You will most likely be asked not to eat or drink for 8 to 10 hours before the test.

  • Esophagram

    An esophagram, or contrast esophagram (also called a barium swallow), is a series of x-rays of your esophagus. For an esophagram, you will be asked to drink a barium sulfate liquid while x-rays are taken of the swallowing process. As the liquid moves from the mouth down to the esophagus, the physician can assess any narrowing, enlargement or abnormalities. You will most likely be asked not to eat or drink for 8 to 10 hours prior to the test.

Voice Screenings

Performers generally look upon vocal problems with dread. There are few things worse than having to walk in front of an audience with the fear that your voice may not function properly. A routine examination by a voice care team can often make the difference between a successful performance and a canceled one.

The Voice Treatment Program at the Boston Medical Center specializes in state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic services to individuals of all ages who present with a variety of voice disorders. The patients of the voice treatment program include professional and non-professional singers, public speakers, teachers, clergy, attorneys, sales associates and actors.

Seeing a doctor when something is wrong is important before a minor issue becomes a major one.

A voice screening can help:

  • Determine the presence of a potential laryngeal pathology.
  • Determine a risk for throat problems.
  • Provide a baseline image of a healthy larynx to use as a source of comparison if you experience voice problems in the future.
  • Provide education on the normal functioning of the larynx to understand how the voice works, how to control it and to prolong and enhance your career as a professional voice user.
  • Identify habits for optimal vocal use to help you meet the demands of your lifestyle.

In Office Therapies

A number of in-office therapies are available. These include:

  • Botox

    Botulinum toxin, or botox, injections may ease symptoms in some patients with motillity disorders.

    Used for spasmodic dysphonia and sialorrhea.
  • Laser therapy

    This is a medical treatment that uses focused light. Surgeons can focus on a small area and damage less of the surrounding tissue. Patients who have laser therapy may experience less pain, swelling, and scarring than with traditional surgery.

    Used for papilloma, dysplasia, and other vascular lesions of the larynx.
  • Cidofovir injections

    Cidofovir is an injectable antiviral medication used to treat laryngeal papilloma

  • Swallowing and voice therapy (including singing voice therapy) is provided by speech-language pathologists with expertise in these areas.

Surgical Interventions

If needed, we provide state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgical interventions. This could be vocal cord augmentation for the paralyzed vocal cord, and endoscopic laser removal of early cancers of the larynx.

In addition to providing the above comprehensive care, we pride ourselves on ease of scheduling and fast access to appointments. Whether a patient comes to us as a professional singer or professional who relies on their voice or has an urgent swallowing disorder, our staff can see them in a matter of hours to days.

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