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Can food-swallowing problems be diagnosed using a throat camera?

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Quick Answer

Food-swallowing problems can often be diagnosed using a throat camera through a procedure known as an endoscopy, according to WebMD. An endoscopy procedure involves taking a tube with a small camera and light at the end of it and pushing it down a patient's throat.

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The endoscopy, depending on the type of endoscopy that the doctor orders, will allow the doctor to see the esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and stomach. The endoscope can be inserted through either the throat or the rectum. For patients with swallowing problems, the endoscope will be inserted through the throat so that doctors can examine the upper areas of the stomach and throat, reports WebMD.

The endoscopy test is an important procedure for those patients who are having difficulty swallowing because it can help doctors see if there are positions that can allow the patient to swallow better and find out which parts of the mouth or throat are not functioning properly, states the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Doctors can also find out whether or not food is going to the patient's airway rather than through the stomach, which is a serious problem that needs to be immediately addressed. In addition to the endoscopy, a doctor may also order imaging scans, an esophageal muscle test or a dynamic swallowing study in order to determine the root of the swallowing problem, reports Mayo Clinic.

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