FEESST is an office-based, non-X-ray alternative procedure to traditional X-ray based tests of swallowing, such as an upper GI series. It is a non-invasive way of letting physicians know if numbness has occurred in the throat and also allows one to evaluate swallowing problems. FEESST is performed with an ultrathin camera that is placed through the nose to examine the throat. While the camera is in place, sensation of the throat tissues is determined by giving small puffs of air through the camera in order to elicit a vocal cord reflex, much like the air puff test given to test eye, or corneal, reflexes. Once sensory level is determined, the patient is then given food which has green food coloring in it to see where the food goes in the throat. FEESST is primarily utilized in patients with stroke and chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS (Amytotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Myaesthenia Gravis, and the muscular dystrophies.
FEESST also allows one to demonstrate that acid injury from Throatburn Reflux (LPR) could cause enough swelling of the laryngeal tissues to result in numbness in the throat and esophagus. When a person’s throat is numb, they are likely to cough, choke, and aspirate. However, by treating the acid reflux problem, the numbness goes away, the tissues return to normal appearance, and often one’s swallowing problems begin to improve.