Speech and Language Therapy - Our specialist services

Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)


Speech and Language Therapy - Our aims
To provide a highly specialist and efficient service to patients with communication and swallowing difficulties associated with head and neck cancer

To undertake research to an international standard to add to the evidence base and improve services to patients with head and neck cancer

To provide high quality graduate and post-graduate education to all disciplines involved in the care of people with head and neck cancers with communication and swallowing difficulties .



Surface electromyography

Tongue pressure generation analysis

Surgical Voice Restoration (following laryngectomy) including:

Air insufflation tests

Advanced problem solving

Insertion and maintenance of tracheoesophageal valves



Videolaryngeal evaluation

Computerised voice analysis

We also provide specialist input to the on-treatment radiotherapy clinic, maxillofacial surgery clinic and head and neck cancer combined clinic.

Research & Education in Speech and Language Therapy

We have a strong commitment to research and audit. Our therapists have published in peer reviewed journals and have presented at national and international conferences. We provide a range of graduate and postgraduate education opportunities, including student placements and lecturing at University College London and City University, London. We also run an internationally renowned FEES course. Team members serve on a number of special interest group committees and regularly advise the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists on national policy and best practice guidelines.

Speech and Language Therapy - Glossary of terms

Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia):
Dysphagia is the medical term used for difficulty swallowing. It is caused by damage to tissues, muscles and nerves, for example following surgery or radiotherapy. People may experience swallowing difficulties for a number of reasons and of varying severity.

Speech and language therapists are specialists in the management of swallowing difficulties. They may use a number of techniques to assess your ability to swallow and plan treatment. An initial assessment will take place and may be followed by a more detailed assessment. The most common assessments include a videofluoroscopy (an x-ray of your swallowing) or a fibre-endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, also known as FEES (where a small camera is passed through the nose and into your throat to see how your swallowing is working).

Voice problems (dysphonia)
Dysphonia is the medical term used to describe voice changes. Voice changes may occur due to voice misuse or when the vocal folds (cords) are damaged, for example due to surgery, radiotherapy or infection.
Speech and language therapists are specialists in helping people with voice problems and can advise on how to change how you speak. They may also use more detailed assessments such as video-laryngeal examination (where a small camera is passed through the nose and into your throat to see how your voice is working).

This is an operation where the voice box (larynx) is removed, usually due to cancer. After this operation, people breathe through an opening in the neck known as a stoma (see pictures 1 and 2). As a result there are changes in how people speak. People who have had this operation are known as laryngectomees.

Picture 1 Picture 2
Picture 3 Picture 4

Pictures used by kind permission of Inhealth Technologies http://www.inhealth.com

Speech and language therapists are specialists in helping people speak when they have had this operation. There are several ways in which people can speak following a laryngectomy.

These include:

Electrolarynx (see picture 3)

Tracheoesophageal Voice prosthesis (see picture 4)

Oesophageal speech

Your surgeon and speech and language therapist will discuss these options with you.

Contact Us
UCH Head and Neck Services
If you have any questions, please contact us at University College Hospital.

Postal address

Head and Neck Services,
First Floor East 250,
Euston Road,
London NW1 2PG

Telephone via Departmental Secretariat

Sally Zalita    020 7380 9755
Jill Wellard    020 7380 6949
Marlene Bell  020 7380 9859
Allied Health Professionals 020 7380 6948

Your message will be taken and passed on to the appropriate person or department.

e-mail headandneckcentre@uclh.nhs.uk

Fax referrals  020 7380 6952
Cancer Backup (Cancer Information Website)
0808 800 1234   (freephone helpline)

Changing Faces

The Health Professions Council

National Association of Laryngectomee Clubs   http://www.nalc.ik.com/  


Macmillan CancerLine
0808 808 2020
Copyright UCLH 2008
Sponsored by B. Braun Medical Ltd.