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Conditions We Treat: Dysphagia (Swallowing Disorders)

Swallowing is a complex act that involves coordinated movement of muscles that make up three primary phases of the swallow: oral phase (mouth), pharyngeal phase (throat) and esophageal phase (food tube). When there is a problem in one or more of these phases, it is called dysphagia.

Dysphagia: What You Need to Know

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  • People with a swallowing disorder can experience trouble forming food and liquid into a soft ball in the mouth, a need for extra time to chew or move food or liquid in the mouth, trouble pushing food or liquid to the back of the mouth, food or liquid entering the airway when swallowing causing coughing or throat clearing, choking, a sticking sensation in the throat after a swallow, trouble with food entering the esophagus, feeling food stick in the throat or chest after a swallow, regurgitation, and reflux.
  • Swallowing disorder patients often undergo a swallowing test to observe how they swallow with a flexible scope in the nose, or with x-rays of your neck and chest while the patient swallows.
  • Some swallowing problems may be treatable with medication or surgery. Depending upon your working diagnosis, your Voice Center team will discuss different treatment options available.

Patient Resources

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Why Choose Johns Hopkins for Dysphagia?

Johns Hopkins Voice Center Doctors

Our Physicians

Rely on the expertise of our physicians to treat dysphagia.


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Our Patient Education

Dr. Lee Akst, Director of the Johns Hopkins Voice Center, answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

Watch our Voice Center FAQ video.