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Swallowing Rehabilitation Program

We tend to take swallowing for granted, but many thousands of people have significant problems with this basic human function. Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) afflict people with neurologic disabilities, head and neck cancers and many other medical conditions. Problems with swallowing can interfere with nutrition, the enjoyment of food and even breathing.

The Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) is home to some of the most skilled dysphagia specialists in the nation. Founded in 1979, our Swallowing Disorders program is made up of expert physiatrists, radiologists, speech/language pathologists and other professionals who can diagnose and treat dysphagia of all types. A broad spectrum of services is available, including outpatient care and treatment in our comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation units.

Hopkins advantages

  • Interdisciplinary care by a specialized multiperson team
  • Physician-directed care by expert physiatrists, who can manage the medical aspects of complex cases, including the side effects of medical treatments
  • Availability of inpatient services
  • Hopkins expertise: The Hopkins PM&R Swallowing Disorders program is the oldest such program on the Eastern seaboard and has received extensive funding from the National Institutes of Health to support its ongoing research programs. If necessary, further expertise is readily available through the program's affiliation with the Johns Hopkins Swallowing Center.
  • Convenience for the patient: From inpatient care to outpatient followup, Hopkins PM&R provides a seamless continuum of care ensuring consistent, high-quality care for the dysphagic patient.

Diagnostic services

  • Videofluorographic swallowing studies are conducted by physiatrists and speech/language pathologists to evaluate causes and types of dysphagia.
  • We offer specialized electrodiagnostic studies for the muscles involved in swallowing, the only such service available in the region.

For an appointment, please call our Johns Hopkins Hospital office at 410-614-4030.
For more information, please call Jeffrey Palmer, M.D., Program Director, at 410-502-2446.
For speech-language pathology referrals, please call 410-614-3234.

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