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Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)

What is FEES?

A fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) lets us directly observe your child’s ability to swallow without using x-rays. Food coloring may be added to food and liquid that is given to your child. This allows us to watch the food and liquid pass over the back of the tongue and down the throat as your child swallows.

Why does my child need this procedure?

We need to determine if your child can safely swallow certain foods or liquids. FEES may also be used as a tool to determine when it is safe to change your child’s diet. This test will help the doctor choose the safest and best diet for your child.

How is this procedure done?

A trained speech-language pathologist will perform the procedure. A thin, flexible endoscope will be passed along the floor of your child’s nose. An endoscope is a narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end that will allow a view of your child’s throat as he/she breathes and swallows. Your child may feel a brief moment of discomfort when the scope is first passed through his/her nose. After it is in place, there should be no further discomfort.

Your child will be given something to eat and/or drink. The speech-language pathologist may ask your child to do things while swallowing, such as take small bites and sips or to tuck his/her chin. You will be able to see what the camera is showing on a monitor during the procedure. The entire procedure usually takes about 15-30 minutes. Potential complications are listed below, but these problems are not common:

  • Nose bleed
  • Fainting
  • Closure of airway
  • Temporary discoloration of urine, stool and skin

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2008