After a stroke many patients find it difficult to eat normally due to swallowing problems. The process of swallowing is rather complex, requiring the precise coordination of various muscles triggered by sensory feedback. A stroke may cause an imbalance in this process and can lead to aspiration – the leakage of food and/or saliva into the breathing passages. If left untreated aspiration will often lead to life threatening conditions such as pneumonia.
Individuals suffering from stroke and aspiration often have little hope and may be reliant on a feeding tube for nutrition. Until now there have been few options for reversing swallowing difficulties associated with stroke.
At the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in Shrewsbury, NJ, we offer an innovative surgical procedure to select stroke patients. The goal of the procedure is to restore sensation to the upper airway so that stroke patients may protect their airway during swallowing and reduce or eliminate aspiration. Ulitmately, the patient would then be able to return to an oral diet rather than a feeding tube for nutritional requirements, thereby improving function and quality of life following stroke.
Please contact the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction for more information.