At one time or another, I have talked most of my coworkers into modeling for me… which for a mobile MBS SLP means they ate and drank barium for me under fluoro. Last week, I had a great time with our Field Technician Manager, Tim. He had pretty interesting clip with continual swallows of thin, and it happened to be a great example of how a LOT of people with normal swallows have things that could look disordered if you didn’t apply good clinical thinking to what you see on the MBS.
On this clip you can see quite a bit of accumulation of the bolus into the valleculae and pyriforms before the swallow is really initiated… and you can see some penetration of the bolus as well. Tim is perfectly fine, he does not have dysphagia, and is definitely NOT in need of thickened liquids or interventions.
Collection of the bolus into the valleculae and even into the pyriforms is just one example of a finding that could be considered a variation of normal. Other variations on normal can include piecemeal deglutition, extended mastication, penetration and even aspiration.
If you are attending the upcoming ASHA Convention, either in person or virtually, and would like to see more examples of variations on the normal swallow, please join me for my one hour oral seminar: “Normalizing the Swallow” Session 1361: Friday November 19 3:00-4:00!