FEESST in the rehabilitation of dysphagia after partial laryngectomy

Schindler A, Ginocchio D, Peri A, Felisati G, Ottaviani F.

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2010 Feb;119(2):71-6.



We describe the role of the laryngeal adductor reflex (LAR) and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST) in the rehabilitation of patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia after partial laryngectomy.


Ten patients with a mean age of 64 years (range, 45 to 72 years) were included in the study. Seven patients underwent supraglottic laryngectomy, and 3 had supracricoid laryngectomy. Six patients underwent additional radiotherapy (RT), and 8 had functional neck dissection (ND). FEESST was performed on each patient in order to establish a swallowing rehabilitation program.


In 2 patients, not submitted to either ND or RT, the LAR was preserved; in 6 patients, who underwent both procedures, the LAR was delayed or absent. In 2 patients who underwent ND but not RT, the LAR was preserved in 1 case and delayed in the other. The patients with an absent LAR presented severe aspiration, whereas in those with a preserved LAR, no penetration was found. Moderate aspiration was found in the remaining patients. In the patients with a reduced or absent LAR, tactile and chemical sensory stimulation was added to the rehabilitation program.


FEESST represents a useful tool in everyday clinical practice for the planning of swallowing rehabilitation after partial laryngectomy.


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