Treatment methods

Restoring the swallowing function

The aim of the treatment is to ensure that you are able to regain your ability to eat unimpeded. To do this, your rehabilitation will focus on improving your swallowing functions with the help of a suitable therapeutic concept. 

Conservative treatment methods

Inpatient dysphagia therapy – depending on the severity of the swallowing disorder

In the early phase of swallowing disorder therapy, you will receive individually adapted food at Schoen Clinic, which you can swallow more easily, such as pureed food or thickened drinks. Special drinking cups and cutlery can additionally facilitate your intake of food.

If you suffer from severe swallowing disorders, we will feed you via a gastric tube. A tracheotomy may be necessary if saliva repeatedly enters your trachea and there is a risk of pneumonia. An artificial closure then seals the trachea from the throat.

If your dysphagia is expected to last longer than four weeks, we will no longer place a feeding tube via your nose but through your abdominal skin (PEG). Food with a high calorie content reaches your stomach directly through the tube. The tube can also be used to administer medication and to supply fluids. Dysphagia is often improved just by changing the position of feeding tubes in this way.

In order to prevent infections, the exit point must be well cared for and disinfected. If a PEG is still required when you are discharged, outpatient nursing services can help you to use and care for the tube. 

Medicinal dysphagia therapy

In most cases, patients with swallowing disorders primarily need swallowing therapy. In some cases, however, medication can also help.

Dopaminergic therapy for Parkinson’s disease
In cause-oriented swallowing disorder therapy, the dysphagia ideally disappears together with the underlying disease. However, in the case of Parkinson’s disease, for example, this is only the case to a very limited extent. The drug treatment consists of administering L-dopa and dopaminergic substances. Experience shows, however, that the swallowing disorder often responds worse to this therapy than the other motor deficits.

Inhibition of secretion in case of pronounced salivation
If salivary flow is pronounced, drugs are used that reduce saliva production and secretion flow. Depending on the preparation and the required strength of action, these drugs are applied as plasters behind the ear, administered as tablets or injected under the skin. 
In rare, severe cases, saliva production can also be inhibited directly by injecting botulinum neurotoxin into the salivary glands.