Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic
ENT Surgeon services:
Dr Alan McCulloch (MBBCh (WITS) FCS(SA) ORL
Tel: +27 11 706 0212
Suite 204 Mediclinic Sandton, Cnr Peter Place & Main Road, Bryanston, 2191
Speech Therapy services:
What is the Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic?
The Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic describes the working co-operation between Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon, Dr Alan McCulloch (MBBCh (WITS) FCS(SA) ORL ) and the Speech Therapy and Physiotherapy practices at RehabMatters that have a special interest in Dysphagia management.
What is Dysphagia?
Dysphagia is defined as ‘difficulty with swallowing’. It can occur as a result of a stroke or other neurological disease, normal aging, benign or malignant growths or after a long period of inactivity. People who don’t eat or drink enough are more likely to become ill or experience longer recovery times and often withdraw from society because sharing of food and drink is such a big part of daily life.
Dysphagia can occur as a result of many different conditions such as a stroke, other neuromuscular diseases like Parkinson’s or ALS, head and neck cancer, or de-conditioning as a result of age.
Signs and symptoms of dysphagia:
- Difficulty swallowing or initiating a swallow
- Abnormal sounding cough
- Change in the sound of your voice (wet, hoarse, weak)
- Repeated chest infections
- Swallowing difficulty: multiple swallows or special positions required to clear throat
- Difficulty finishing a meal in a normal period of time
- Feeling of food being stuck or slowing down in the throat
- Soft diet or modified diet required (thickening, pureeing food; soft solids)
- Spilling food or liquid from lips and/or drooling
How can the Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic help?
Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic adopts a multidisciplinary approach to dysphagia management. The team will work together to establish the cause of the dysphagia through medial and therapeutic consultations and visual imaging techniques. The team works together to design a treatment and rehabilitation plan that may include a combination of medical and therapeutic interventions including the use of VitalStim® therapy and hands-on massage and strengthening exercises for the muscles that help you swallow.
What is VitalStim® Therapy?
VitalStim® Therapy is a pain-free, non-invasive, external electrical stimulation therapy that causes a contraction in the muscles that cause a normal swallow response, thereby improving swallow function. It was cleared to market for the treatment of dysphagia by the FDA in December 2002.
Traditional management of this condition consists mainly of diet modification to decrease choking episodes. In severe cases, it may be necessary to insert a feeding tube into the stomach. In the last few years new treatment options have become available though – one of these is the use of specially adapted electrical stimulation called VitalStim® Therapy which is showing good outcomes in most patients with relatively few treatments.
RehabMatters is proud to have three therapists certified in the use of VitalStim® Therapy. Sessions take 45 to 60-minutes and are repeated a set number of times a week until the patient’s swallowing patterns have been restored to the optimum level. Patients frequently see improvement in 6 to 20 sessions – sometimes in as little as three days.
Do you treat adults and children?
Yes, absolutely. The Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic treats people of any age, including newborn and premature babies and the elderly.
How do I get an appointment with Sandton Swallowing and Voice Clinic?
If you would like a full medical and therapeutic assessment of your swallow, please contact MCulloch, Harrison and Partners who will arrange for a team assessment
If you have already had your swallow assessed medically and would like to book an appointment with the Speech Therapists for VitalStim® Therapy sessions, please contact McCulloch, Harrison and Partners
If you want to book an appointment with the Physiotherapists to assess and treat the muscles and soft-tissues required for optimal swallowing, please contact McCulloch, Harrison and Partners