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Swallowing Disorder Treatment Options

Because swallowing disorders vary in the degree of severity, experts at UPMC's Swallowing Disorders Center create a personal treatment plan for each patient.

Treatments may include swallowing rehabilitation or, in severe cases, surgery.

Nonsurgical Treatments of Swallowing Disorders

The goals of swallowing rehab are to:

  • Restore oral feeding to a level that is as normal as possible.
  • Improve swallowing safety.
  • Increase swallowing efficiency.

Swallowing rehab treatment plans may include:

  • Oral motor exercises
  • Swallowing maneuvers
  • Neck and body posture techniques
  • Diet changes
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Voice strengthening exercises

Surgical Treatments for Swallowing Disorders

Surgery is a last resort reserved for people who do not respond to swallowing rehab.

UPMC's swallowing disorders experts customize surgical procedures to each patient's needs. The main goal of surgery is to improve existing swallowing function as much as possible.

The types of surgeries we perform at the UPMC Swallowing Disorders Center include:

  • Medialization of the vocal cord
  • Pharyngoesophageal dilation
  • Cricopharyngeal myotomy
  • Surgery for Zenker's diverticulum
  • Palatopexy
  • Laryngotracheal separation

Learn more about these surgeries