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Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing Helps with Feeding Issues

Gryffin and his mother, Amelia, wait for a FEES examination. 

Gryffin receives care from Gillette specialists in feeding, craniofacial concerns, orthopedics, neurology, speech language pathology, and rare disease.

Gillette Children’s is proud to offer a unique service to help identify problems that occur when food or liquid passes through a child’s throat.

A Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) test uses a small, flexible tube called an endoscope which allows a fiber optic camera with a small light to be inserted into a child’s nose.  Images from this special camera are shown on a screen so providers can see parts of the throat, nasal passages, and how the muscles in the area work during swallowing.

Gillette craniofacial speech language pathologist, Graham Schenck, PhD, is specially trained in the procedure. He often teams up with Gillette pediatric otolaryngologist, Micah Berman, MD, to conduct the FEES test which usually takes about 20-minutes in a clinic.

A FEES test can help identify children who might be suffering from dysphagia which, in some cases, might make a child feel as if they are having trouble swallowing or like something is stuck in their throat. If not addressed, dysphagia can lead to choking, and/or pneumonia.

The Gillette FEES team examines Gryffin.

Gryffin recently underwent a Fiberoptic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) test to provide information about the anatomy of his throat, nasal passages, and how the muscles in that area are working.

FEES test helps to find answers

Amelia Mickman Weicker recently took her newborn son, Gryffin, to Gillette for a FEES test.

“Gryffin was having some feeding issues and I felt the test at Gillette was comprehensive. Dr. Berman and Dr. Schenck took the time to talk to me and answered any questions I had,” Mickman Weicker says. “Gryffin was a champ and really had little to no discomfort during the test.”

Gryffin and his mother, Amelia, in a Gillette Children's exam room. 

Gryffin and his mother, Amelia, in a Gillette Children's exam room. 

Gillette brings ease to complex pediatric care

Shortly after he was born in August 2022, Gryffin was diagnosed with 9Q34 Duplication Syndrome. It is a rare genetic disorder that can bring intellectual and developmental delays.

The first few months of Gryffin’s life were a blur for Mickman Weicker.

“In the beginning I saw providers in eight different health care systems and there was not much coordination,” Mickman Weicker says.

She shared her frustrations with during a lactation consultation appointment and that provider suggested she investigate Gillette Children’s and its complex pediatric care team.

“I’m just so glad we found Gillette,” Mickman Weicker says. “The team at Gillette is really on top of things and I’m grateful I don’t have to run all over town to see various specialists.”