Videofluoroscopy Swallow Studies (VFSS) also known as Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) is an examination of swallowing done under x-ray. A patient will be asked to eat and/or drink something while the speech pathologist views the oral and pharyngeal phase of swallowing. It is one of our gold standard assessment tools as it gives us a dynamic direct view of the structures used in swallowing. It helps to identify whether food or drink is going into the airway instead of the oesophagus, to recommend the appropriate food and drink to consume, and to develop rehabilitation strategies to improve swallowing function.
A VFSS is indicated when:
There is a need to observe oral preparatory, oral transit, pharyngeal, and/or oesophageal phases of swallowing;
a diagnosed or suspected presence of abnormalities in the anatomy of nasal, oral, pharyngeal, or upper oesophageal structures that would preclude endoscopic evaluations;
an aversion to having an endoscope inserted;
the presence of a respiratory disorder;
the presence of a persistent feeding refusal problem for which a swallowing disorder might be a contributing cause; or
the need to determine treatment or management strategies to minimise the risk of aspiration and increase swallow efficiency (Arvedson & Lefton-Greif, 1998).
About the Test:
A VFSS is done with your speech pathologist directing the assessment and a Radiographer taking the images. Most of the time, a Radiologist will also be present to assist with determining any abnormal anatomical structures and to make comment on physiology.